Tag Archives: giftedness

Goodbye to Hard Work

I’m suffering a bit of too-many-thoughts paralysis lately — I want to write about everything, and so write about nothing!

But I’m a little excited about this one.

A Facebook friend linked to an article that many friends in the gifted community were annoyed with.

The title of the article pits giftedness against hard work, as if you only get one or the other. Those of us who have already endured 12 years of school hearing that nothing we do counts because “it’s so easy for you” find that tired argument difficult to sit through again.

An old grad school friend — now also a coworker with my husband — made me laugh when he commented on the article by observing that he has spent most of his life avoiding hard work, and it’s going pretty well so far.

(Of course this is not exactly true — this friend has succeeded at several different things since grad school.)

I realized, I may be in danger of passing on to my kids this obsession with “hard work” and being a “hard worker.” I follow the New Parenting Rules and praise them for effort and process rather than quality of product. My daughter wants me to read her NaNoWriMo novel and I say, “Wow, I am so proud of how much time you have put into this.” Is that what you’d want someone to say when they read your first draft of a novel?!

So phooey on that. I’m not going to teach my children to value their efforts by drops of sweat or sleepless nights.

I’m making some substitutions in my vocabulary, at least for myself:

“Hard Work” is now “Passion” or maybe even “Joy”

“Effort” is now “Faithfulness”

“Persistence” is now “Love”

This is where, I think, we’ve been going on our homeschool journey, though we didn’t know it when we embarked. The blessing of falling into homeschool for us is not that the girls “work to their potential” or get “challenged,” though sometimes those things happen. The blessing is that we are all learning and actively looking to give ourselves wholeheartedly to what we are doing.

This allows us to sidestep worries about the dire fates that apparently await many “prodigies,” and the “harsh truths” about the perils of giftedness. Much of the mainstream chatter about gifted kids — apart from the utterly contradictory advice — seems to focus on whether kids are working too hard (“pushy parents,” “unrealistic expectations”) or not hard enough (“underachievers,” “everything comes easy,” “don’t earn their successes”).

We’re exiting that conversation now.

How hard are my kids working? How hard am I working? Who cares?

Are we living and working with joy and passion? Do we love what we’re doing enough to carry on through the inevitable doldrums and frustrations?

I hope so. Whether it’s a massive Thanksgiving meal or a child-size NaNoWriMo goal, I hope that we are giving our whole selves out of joy — the joy of serving, performing, creating, feeling. If we are not — if we are only jumping through hoops, acting out of a sense of obligation, checking off the to-do list, or trying to impress — I hope we will learn to recognize that and correct it as best we can.

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Filed under Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul, I'm Catholic Why?, Our Domestic Church, Our Philosophy (such as it is)

Ya think?

Got this link from someone on twitter, who retweeted from someone else, who RTd someone else, and so on and so on . . .

Nice summary of “Gifted Children-Social Emotional Challenges” from James Webb — so familiar, so good to be reminded that it’s all pretty normal.

This one made me laugh:

Gifted children often have several advanced capabilities and may be involved in diverse activities to an almost frantic degree. Though seldom a problem for the child, this may create problems for the family.

You don’t say . . .

A little freaked out by the blog name: The Triumphant Child. I mean, I like it, but . . . what about The Modestly Successful Child. My midwestern sensibilities are much more comfortable with that. 😉

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Filed under Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul

Why Just Summer?

Have you seen this story in the NYT yet? Here’s a slice:

In 7 weeks he’ll go back to school, to a 5th grade class we can only hope will be more suited to his nature than the previous grade. His new teacher is supposed to be strong in math and science, to which he’s looking forward. I’ve promised him no after-school test prep this year, no tutor. It’s the 4th grade tests that matter for middle school, and he soldiered on for several endless months of prep last year: from the writing tutor to the school’s after-school test prep program to classroom test preparation that consumed all other subject matter. Last year’s teacher assigned hours of mindless homework. At some point, she decided our son was bright (her term) and thus eligible for enrichment — but she was in no way capable of providing it, in a class of 29 children with extremely mixed abilities. Our son isn’t the only child in the class who survived 4th grade with a perfect report card and his self-concept deeply shaken.

The thrust of the piece is that children need summer as a time to recover and just hang out. In other words, children need time to just be. So true.

It was hard not to read it as an endorsement of homeschooling: school has “hours of mindless homework,” kids trying to stay in top schools are on a “treadmill of achievement,” summer is a respite from the “endless, numbing school year.” We aren’t living that life, and I am so glad.

But it was hard not to read the piece as a lament for gifted children: her son was told to stop reading the Iliad and start reading Deltora Quest, he does most of his real learning at home. The author is pushing her son to get into the good NYC schools, but as far as I can tell it’s not because she is competitive and achievement-obsessed. It’s because she hopes that if he gets in, he’ll get something better and the treadmill feeling will go away, and she fears for him if it doesn’t.

I think in the comments someone points out something parents of HG-EG-PG kids– and creative kids — know well: the tests don’t go high enough to distinguish exceptionally smart kids, and they may penalize the creative or sophisticated thinking of kids who are several years beyond grade level. Who could blame a mother for being afraid?

I just felt moved by the kid’s story — a kid the same age as mine, a kid who could excel at all things school and still be miserable there in every way. I know this mother is doing just what we are doing — taking a hard path, making sacrifices to try to offer her son something better. Maybe homeschooling really isn’t for her, for reasons known only to herself. But shouldn’t she, and he, have some other option?

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Filed under Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul, In the News, Learning Styles, Why Homeschool?

Just checking in

I have been unwell all week, so if anything interesting happened, I was unable to remember it, much less write about it.

After a week in near-hibernation, however, I did manage to get to about half of our state homeschool convention. I missed the keynote, I missed the “planning for college” session, but I did attend an inspiring session about using the state DNR (department of natural resources) for lessons. I am hoping to attend an educators’ workshop soon for their Project Learning Tree curriculum. I am really excited to find out more, as this is something perfect for Victoria that I think Violet can also benefit from.

I also attended a session about “putting doubts into perspective.” I did have a flash about why I like to attend the local gifted conference as well. Much of the conversation was about kids who aren’t hitting state benchmarks or who show gifts in nonacademic area (i.e., “Someone needs to be the pipefitter,” etc.). I am in agreement with what was said — I am among the first to pipe up that a child not reading at age 6 or 7 does not necessarily require intervention, and I offer the story that I know of a English doctoral candidate who did not learn to read (in her Montessori school) until she was 10 and finally decided she wanted to. And I hope it is obvious that hands-on technical work is incredibly important and valuable.

But those aren’t really my doubts. As we discussed how turning to “experts” can undermine our confidence, I realized that my doubts were more about the risks we’ve been threatened with for gifted kids: higher rates of depression and possibly for suicide, Imposter Syndrome, lack of challenges translating to lack of initiative and self-motivation, burn-out, alienation. As I said, sometimes it seems like if we don’t parent just right, our children will explode!

I wasn’t feeling the love when I raised that issue, and I kind of regretted it. A room where some parents are worried about kids not hitting certain developmental milestones is not the best place to say, “Oh, and I’m so worried because my kid is bright!” (which is not quite what I said, but you know . . . ) Still, the presenter did give some good basic advice: when the “expert” is making you feel worse, look elsewhere.

I like experts, by the way. I’m not anti-expert. I hire experts when I need something done that I can’t do. I read and research. And I came to think of higher education as an opportunity to pick the brains of experts, not just to get information, but to get their help in making myself a better writer and thinker. (Wish I had cottoned onto that earlier!)

Still, none of those things need make you feel bad, even when you learn you need to change your ways.

The challenge, I suppose, is that folks who write about gifted education are usually writing about gifted education in the schools, which means that they are trying to convey a sense of urgency as a way of advocating for gifted students. So as a parent, I’m reading and thinking “oh my gosh, wow, there’s danger everywhere!”

I’d like to find the “gifted experts” who let me know that it’s going to turn out OK, I can do it, and more than that my kids can do it.

And now I have to go watch Elizabeth with my husband!

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Filed under Curriculum, Gifted Heart and Soul, Oh Mother, Resources -- Gifted, Uncategorized, Why Homeschool?

What is overachieving, exactly?

In homeschooling communities, there are usually people who pooh-pooh the whole gifted thing because “gifted” is a “school category.” Sometimes there’s (spoken and unspoken) suspicion of people who seem to be “rushing,” “pushing,” or otherwise pursuing some course of study at a pace or intensity perceived as “not normal.” They celebrate the homeschooler’s freedom to go at her own pace, but that usually means the freedom to meander (which is great!) not the freedom to go balls to the wall.

This attitude gets under my skin, which is why I enjoyed a somewhat older exchange I just found on Just Enough, and Nothing More. Tammy Takashi posted a story about a homeschooler, Chelsea Link, who was very successful getting into top colleges — evidence that homeschooling doesn’t knock you out of the running for selective programs, if that is your goal.

A couple of commenters were not sure whether this was good news. Part of one response:

Ugh – I think we need to take homeschooling back from the overachievers…the goal of homeschooling is not to get into all the best colleges, you know

I hope very much the real Chelsea Link is the Chelsea who offered this excellent response:

With all due respect, I’d rather like to take home schooling back from the overachievement-bashers. What exactly qualifies as “overachieving” vs. just “achieving,” and what about it is so “ugh”-inspiring?

I think “the goal of homeschooling” is up to each individual home schooler. My original goal in home schooling was pretty much to have the freedom to “overachieve” if I darn well felt like it, without being hassled by The Man. When I was five, I certainly was not thinking, “So first, I’ll ditch school, and then I’ll make sure to pursue my passions and score well on tests so I can get into a top-ranked college…” What I was actually thinking was more like, “You know, I really love reading chapter books, and I want to learn to write in cursive, and I kind of like long division, and I’m not really allowed to do any of those things here, so…forget this.”

When high school came around, though, I will willingly admit that I had two goals in designing my curriculum: 1) to continue to learn and do interesting things, and 2) to get into a good college. And why did I want to get into a good college? So that I could continue to have the freedom to go where I want to go and do what I want to do. I’m going to Harvard for all the same reasons I stopped going to kindergarten – it has very little to do with degrees of achievement, and everything to do with having fun and enjoying life to the fullest. I sincerely hope that this simple desire will soon cease to evoke an “ugh” reaction.

Yay for you, Chelsea Link! If I had a selective university, I would admit you too.

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Filed under Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul, In the News, Learning Styles, Our Philosophy (such as it is), Why Homeschool?

Some questions about homeschoolers

Adso pointed me to this, so I’m responding to HWs requestion (that’s a typo, but it’s kind of a cool one, don’t you think?), “Homeschoolers, Help me.”

1. What was your motivation for homeschooling?

We started homeschooling because in 1st grade it became apparent that our oldest child was unhappy. We learned that she was several grade levels above her class (I mean, like junior high in some areas), and thus bored out of her mind and (maybe more importantly) feeling like she did not belong with the other kids, but her teacher insisted that she was not ready for any kind of differentiation or more challenging work. Evidence of her unreadiness: She was usually last to come in from recess and lunch, and was always slow to put her snow gear away and return to her seat. Anyway, we decided that our energies would be better spent on our child than on the teacher and administration.

Now, we homeschool because we enjoy it. I work from home, my husband works from home, we’re all musical and artsy and love foreign languages – we have a great time together. So the academic fit reason has faded into the background, and now I think more about the foreign languages and music stuff that we’d miss if we had to give 6 hours a day to school, not counting homework. (And I have a pretty low opinion of homework, especially for kids under 12.)

2. Don’t hate me for asking this. How to you handle socialization? What steps do you take to make sure your children are around other children and adults?

OK, I don’t hate you. But this question is so funny to me that I still can’t answer it properly! Before your children went to school did they see other children and adults? Well, it works the same way after they turn 5. Seriously, we have joined some groups so that the girls (I have 2) have a chance to see a regular group of kids on a regular basis. And we have joined some groups oriented towards gifted kids as well, although often it is the commiseration among parents of extremely gifted kids that benefits us most! Like PS (public school) children, my girls have gone to piano, dance, ice skating, soccer, art camp, sleepaway camp, horseback lessons, Sunday school, choir, play practice, etc. etc. etc. We now have to put in more effort to be sure we don’t do too much, which is pretty much the situation of all homeschoolers I know.

As far as diversity of people to socialize with, well, we do live in Minnesota, which is not the most diverse place ever, wherever you go to school. Most of our homeschool groups are very diverse religiously – Christians, atheists, pagans, Jews, etc. – and in family make-up – one parent, two-parent, mom and dad, mom and mom, mom and mom and a few on the side . . . (Actually that last only describes one family and I don’t know them personally, so maybe that doesn’t count for diversity.) I’m sure there are groups that are very strict about inviting people who have a very similar worldview, but obviously we are not in those, by choice.

Oh, and my two girls are great playmates with each other, when they are not fighting. I figure they offer each other pretty good practice at getting along with difficult people. 😉

3. Do you use the public school system for any part of your child’s routine? Some children here come to the school for band or chorus, or maybe for science class. Do you send your child to the public school to take advantage of any of their programs?

No I don’t. I would consider it, but since we find it easy to get overwhelmed with activities, it would have to be a pretty great opportunity to be worth driving to school for a short time several times a week.

4. Do your children begin and end school at the same time each day? Do they have a strict schedule, at least as far as waking up and reporting to the school area of your home?

Hmmmm, what I think is hard to understand – because after 2.5 years of homeschooling I am only starting to understand it – is that homeschool and traditional school really aren’t that similar. We have no “school area” of our home – we have a piano, we have a kitchen table, we have several computers scattered about. School is designed to accommodate several children in one classroom with one teacher, and much of the structure of both the building and the schedule reflects that. I’m not saying that’s a good or bad thing, it’s just totally different from homeschooling. I’m not trying to work with 25 students all at once, and it would seem really weird and forced to live as if we did.

4.a If not, when/how will you transition your children into following a more rigid schedule – awaking at the same time each day so that they can follow a routine outside of the home like for college and work?

This question does not apply to me or my husband – we’ve usually been able to set our own schedules, and we have worked hard to have the skills and credibility to do so. And really, what is more erratic than a college student’s schedule? I guess my view is that I will help my children learn to manage their time without bells, punch cards, etc. This is where business is moving anyway – performance/production oriented workdays, rather than putting in a set number of hours regardless of the work that needs to be done.

7. Where do you find your curriculum? Do you shop for it and order it? Do you create your own?

Everywhere; yes; and yes. Again, homeschool is really different from PS in this regard and comparisons are difficult to make. A good PS curriculum will help a teacher work in a classroom setting with 25 students of different abilities who have to meet particular goals, and demonstrate to a governing body that those goals are met. That’s not what I need from a curriculum. And for many things we don’t use any purchased curriculum; we just read or do and learn.

My oldest is really interested in foreign languages, and although I have studied several she is determined to be interested in those I have no familiarity with. This is a case where we do need to find some form of curriculum. We’ve used Rosetta Stone, we’re now using Chinese Pod in the “guided” format, and I think she’ll be starting high school German 101 via BYU this fall, along with an English class – the English class is more of an experiment. I was looking at finding a junior high that offered German, but shockingly most only offer Spanish, a few Spanish and French. And geez, sometimes junior high seems like such a cesspool to throw a 9yo in . . . .

8. Do you have any worries at all about teaching your teenagers the higher level math and sciences? I, for one, could not teach chemistry to my children but I could probably teach them calculus. Is this a concern for you?

I do think about this. I’m sure the answer is different for everyone. I work on the assumption that my kids will want to go to a really good college. I’m a former academic with a strong scholarly bent – I know some homeschoolers also question the value of college degrees, but I’m not there with them. I know plenty of A**hole academics, but I also know a lot of fabulous ones, and getting to have a semester or two of them helping you develop your mind is an awesome thing. I want to keep that door open for my kids.

So, yes, they will need solid college prep. Depending on their interests, our financial situations, and several other things, we may decide to do part-time school or full-time school at that point, we may look into distance learning classes, we may do co-op classes (where I live, there are options for these classes). The science is the only one that I am concerned about – for math, online/distance/CD-based programs can get the job done, but for science you need labs.

But I’m also pretty confident that we, like many other homeschoolers, can work this one out when the time comes. My kids currently attend science class at a co-op, and we supplement with a lot of books at home.

9. What bothers you the most about the reputation home schoolers have? What things do you hate to hear people say about you for your choice? I really hope you don’t say that it’s my previous post.

Hmmm, although I am Christian (Catholic), I do hate that right-wing fundamentalist creationist stereotype. Actually, to be more precise, the stereotype that homeschoolers who are right-wing fundamentalist creationists homeschool in order to keep their kids in the dark, keep them away from people who aren’t exactly like them, etc. Though I am a left-wing Catholic who accepts evolution as an explanation for the development of the earth’s creatures, I can imagine that you could be a conservative fundamentalist who does not accept evolution and still not be homeschooling with the express purpose of isolating your kids. It’s the isolationist assumption that really gets me.

10. Be honest, do you, at least in your mind sometimes, judge those of us who choose public school? Do you ever think we are making a bad choice for our children? Are you vocal about that disapproval?

Here’s what annoys me. I’m with a group of PSers who go on about a bad teacher, or about all the things they do to supplement at home, or about various things they are doing because PS isn’t cutting it for their kids in some area, and then they start with the “Why do you homeschool, I could never, why don’t you try this school,” and so on. For most of the conversation I’m listening with interest, the interest of a friend or acquaintance who cares about what is happening in your life, who finds educational issues interesting, who hopes that things will eventually turn out well for you. But once the questions turn to me — and to be clear, I mean the “what were/are you thinking” questions, not the politely curious questions — I get cranky and start thinking “You guys are not exactly an advertisement for how great it would be for me to send my kids back to school.”

So in general, no, I am not thinking that my PS-ing friends are making a bad choice, and I’m never thinking that they ought to start homeschooling. It’s like this: I love my husband, but it’s never occurred to me that any of my friends should have married him.

Am I vocal? Only a few friends know that getting my knitting bag out means “I’m staying the hell outta this conversation!”

I wish I had a link to the Pajama Diaries strip for today (Sunday, July 27th), which depicts four friends with four different lifestyles complaining about the lack of respect they get for either staying home with kids, working full-time, working part-time, or homeschooling. I can’t describe this in a funny way, but the final frame shows all of them thinking that they would *never* want the lives of the others. There’s a difference between supporting your friends’ choices and thinking their choices would be right for you — I’m not sure why this is so hard, but apparently it is. The only reason I would want any of my PS friends to start homeschooling is so we could hang out together during the day, starting with coffee and working our way towards a few margaritas. 😉

11. Is “home school” one word or two? I’ve seen it both ways. With spellcheck, it shows it as ONE word when used as a verb, but two words when used otherwise. Please enlighten me.

I prefer one word in all instances. Two words just looks funny.

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Filed under Curriculum, Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul, Learning Styles, Music and Art, Our Philosophy (such as it is), Schoolday Doings, Socialization, Why Homeschool?

Word within the word

We’ve been trying a new resource lately, and I’m ready to report our initial response.

I had never heard of Royal Fireworks Press or Michael Clay Thompson until commenter Kit suggested the RFWP/MCT curriculum.

I had a really hard time choosing the right level. The suggested grade levels listed for each text is pretty broad. And though they are designed for gifted kids, you never can tell just what that means. In the end I started with the secondary level series, The Magic Lens and The Word Within the Word.

I confess, we started off overwhelmed. Or at least, I did. I saw that they looked like workbooks, and I thought we would use them as workbooks. But they aren’t designed that way. They’re designed to be used as a classroom text, with discussion and group processes and lots of looking things up in the dictionary on your own. This threw me a little at first. Plus — OK, I’m sure MCT is a brilliant man with a great love for language but — editor, please! This must be what it feels like to talk to Violet at times: you turn on the faucet to get a little water and you get a full-on 30-second firehose-strength blast in the face. Or maybe I was just tired. And when they say designed for gifted kids — they mean it! It’s not just about jumping ahead a grade or two, it’s about thinking differently. Which is good, but for a few days I questioned whether I should have started with the last book in the earlier series. Now I think I made the right choice.

We have not had a lot of time to explore The Magic Lens, which is the grammar text, but I have started to give some regular attention to Word Within the Word. This is something we do together, and it has been pretty fun.

I’m not sure what kind of book to describe Word Within the Word as — it falls in the “Vocabulary” column of the RFWP/MCT scheme, but it’s not really a traditional vocabulary study, or a traditional spelling study. It’s mainly based on learning word roots, so our focus has mainly been an extended etymology study.

One of the examples MCT gives for his style of study is learning the stems for respect, “re” — again” and “spect” — as in looking, so to “respect” is to look anew at something or someone. A “circum” -(around) “spect” person looks around before taking action. It’s a fun and interesting way to talk about words.

One of our favorite discoveries so far is “supercilious,” which we had to look up because though I had a general idea of the word’s meaning, I really didn’t recognize the “cilious” word stem. Aha! “super” = “above,” and “cilium” = “eyelid.” “Supercilium”=”eyebrow.” So a “supercilious” person is one who looks down at you with a raised eyebrow. We laughed out loud at our discovery.

My hope is that this will enable Violet’s reading a little more. Yes, she is reading at a post-secondary level, which means she is reading at a level when it is absurd even to talk about it (you have no idea how much time I’ve spent on Youtube trying searching various combinations of “Simpsons” “Lisa’s wedding” and “I read at a 78th grade level” to illustrate this point.) But working on the history of English study has given me a sense of where she’s at beyond that, and what she needs to do to keep progressing in order to keep up with her interests.

Plus, hey, she’s got lots of years to qualfy for Scripps-Howard! Remember the goofy kid in Spellbound, the one who made crazy jokes and talked all the time? I’ve got the female equivalent, right here — calling aspiring directors of Spellbound 2: Electric Boogaloo!

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Filed under Curriculum, Gifted Ed, Schoolday Doings, unit study -- history of english

Checked Out

I’m not anywhere fun, like Barcelona (!), I’m just sick. Bleah.

Just a cold, mom, don’t worry too much! But I need all the energy I have just to get through the day — none left for blogging.

What’s been happening Chez Nous?

— Planning meeting for a group of families that all have girls ages 9-10, in addition to siblings of all ages. We are trying to establish monthly get-togethers so that as the girls transition through puberty to adolescence they have a solid group of friends. I’ll say more about it another day. The other parents and kids are great — I am just a little unsure whether Violet will find it a good fit over the long term. No one else in her family is a great group person, but I hate to make assumptions about her.

— Continuing our history of English. We spent some time on the Plimoth Plantation site, which has audio of pilgrim speak. Violet also wrote a letter as if she were a pilgrim girl writing to a friend in England. She begins:

Pray pardon me if the parchment is burnt, I am writing by the hearth for the mouser has upturned a bowl of cold pottage upon my petticoat, and chilled me.

She also writes about watching the “Indians.”

— Gearing up for a month of performances. Victoria has a dance recital and a piano recital, while Violet has a play and two piano recitals. This involves many practices and dress rehearsals, which is somewhat exhausting for me. Reading Guiding the Gifted Child, I am assured that gifted kids often thrive on a full plate, and that apart from disruptions to the family so much activity is OK. Oh, and soccer starts in a couple of weeks, I think. Violet may have to give that one up, depending on how much it conflicts with her other committments, but Victoria will get to do hers, regardless.

— Lots of knitting. I’m going to be putting together Violet’s sweater coat as a long hippie vest, because I lost the sleeves. (It is just too painful to discuss further.) I might also complete the sleeves and add them later. I’m knitting some purple socks for myself in a nice chevron lace pattern — thanks Dawn and Ann Budd.

If I am not commenting on your blog, pray pardon me.

Fare thee well,
Shaun

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Filed under Curriculum, From Violet, Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul, Home Preschool, Knitting and crafting, Music and Art, Schoolday Doings, unit study -- history of english

and I’m spent

Oh man, I just don’t have the strength to update here. Even when I read a recent article from a Va. newspaper —

But I believe it is time for someone to fight for the students who lose role models and friends to the “smart” classes and internalize their exclusion as confirmation of their own deficiencies.

[i.e., When gifted students get an appropriate education it hurts other students, both by hurting the other students feelings and by depriving those students of the opportunity to model the gifted students. That’s what life is like as a highly gifted student right? — all your classmates are lining up to use you as a role model?! 😉 ] —

I just don’t have the get up and go to go after it. Nor would it really be worth it to do so, but I am still surprised to see actual people saying this stuff in public.

What have we been doing?

Nothing school-y, that’s for sure. The girls’ grandparents came last week, which was an occasion for much frolicking, goofing around, and playing in the sun, which decided to make a rare appearance for much of the in-laws visit. Then it was time for Shakespeare’s birthday party, which was also Violet’s 9th birthday party. The kids acted out the Pyramus and Thisby performance at the end of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Violet was Pyramus/Bottom, and was quite enthusiastic in performance, though she kept turning away from the audience. (There were 2 audiences, however — the Athenians, and the parents — so in our small house it was not easy to face both.)

I made up scripts for each of the kids with parchment-like paper, and in the back there were a few word games, including Shakespeare or Not Shakespeare? As you may know, Shakespeare is one of the leading sources of idioms in the English language (along with the Bible and nautical terminology). Here’s a selection — care to try your luck in deciding which are Shakespeare and which are Not Shakespeare?

1. Dead as a Door-Nail

2. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

3. Foul Play

4. Vanish into thin air

5. Bite the dust

6. In a pickle

7. The Fly in the ointment

8. In the red

9. In stitches

10. At his wit’s end

On an unrelated note, our art teacher at co-op mentioned that she has always noticed that homeschooled kids tend to look out for each other in a way that she doesn’t see in her school groups. (Luckily this came up in the context of my daughter being one of some children who stuck up for a friend.) Your milage may vary, of course. I’m just always pleased when people observe that homeschoolers get “socialized” just fine, thank you.

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Filed under Family Fun, Gifted Ed, Socialization, unit study -- history of english

Straight Talk Express

No this is not a post about presidential politics — I’m just lazy when it comes to making up post titles.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you may have seen this, but if not, I recommend to you a series of posts on gifted students and traditional education (i.e., “Why Gifted Students Hate School”) at Lorem Ipsum, the blog of smart homeschooler and teacher Adso of Melk.

Hope you like your educational discussions blunt, straight up, and a little fierce. 😉

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Filed under Gifted Ed, Gifted Heart and Soul