I worry more about my gifted kid than the one who needs help

I just got done reading this article and when I read an article like this it really brings me back to our personal struggles on this subject.

And it makes me mad.

Mad that my older son does not and did not get the same personal attention that my younger son gets in reading.

Why not?  Because his reading/comprehension was years above his peers.

My younger son gets 2.5 hours A WEEK of personal one on one attention.

Why?  Because he’s at risk.  That doesn’t mean that he has a disability, or is dramatically delayed.   No.  It means he’s enough at risk for being behind that my school is able to take advantage of government funds to give him essentially private in-school tutoring.

My older son who started reading on his own at 2.5 wasn’t completely left on his own.  No.  He did get “enrichment” activities but they weren’t one on one and they weren’t done on an individual’s needs.

They were fine.  Not great but I am **lucky** that he even got that.

I’m speaking from personal experience and not all school systems are the same but for the most part being of high intelligence is a waste of time until you get into 3rd grade in this country.  Painful even.

“You should take your child’s feelings about school with a grain of salt” was said to me by an administrator when I had a meeting to discuss how much my child in 3RD grade hated school.

OH.  Right.  Dismiss his feelings instead of, I don’t know, come up with a solution?

He was having anxiety based stomach aches before school and you want me to just throw a level 2 book at him and say “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

But then something magical happened.  He qualified for those often sought after “honors classes.”  I started to see him wake up.  A tiny bit of sparkle.  The stomach aches?  GONE.

Yes.  It wasn’t until my child got into the honors classes did he start to change his perception of what school was even for.  It was for learning, and it could even be fun.

But we are lucky.  My district has put value on this type of leveled learning.  These classes have been critical in his transformation into a student.  If it wasn’t available, I feel as though I would be forced to have home schooled.   When your child starts reacting physically to an external source in a negative way, you fix that

But to explore whether or not he is being pushed to his potential?  I think that comes down to each individual educator.  We have had excellent, make me cry with happiness, and exhale with relief that they “get” my child educators.  We’ve also had the teachers who want to “contain” my child’s knowledge into an age appropriate box.  My son lets me know who they are and what happens.  It makes him mad and frustrated.  I don’t blame him.

But we are lucky.  Still.  I know this.  I have one child who struggles and I feel he is getting very very good attention and the help that he needs.  I have another who is getting mostly what he needs.

The difference?  Only one complains about not getting enough information in the depth that he wants.

This country is very much still a “This child is in X grade and learns X grade things.”

That doesn’t work for everyone, and these brightest children deserve more.

 

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Research that the news story was based on.

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I’m adding this video that I saw today (day after I wrote this)  It’s the perfect example of what can happen when you give a really bright kid room to grow beyond what is expected.  Oh, and he talks about being happy and education.

 

10 thoughts on “I worry more about my gifted kid than the one who needs help

  1. Well someone’s on a blogging roll! Now I’m in Tobago so you’ve been read on two islands – add them to your international register.
    First – make no mistake you must continue to push on this – study after study show us that it is not that other students “catch up” it’s that the gifted pull back. Even with the extra classes and time – for most it’s not enough. Your box thought about age and grade – well that’s the box Montessori throws out the door. Keep researching, advocating and even here in the West Indies a cousin just showed me a TED talk given by a 13 yo who was pulled out of school at age 9 and is now flourishing and happy and well, giving a TED talk at age 13! I’d add the link but I need another Carib.

  2. We are struggling with the same thing! The teacher has been dismissive. I have had to really step in and provide extra assignments. Her stomach aches and anxiety have really been an issue. Thanks so much for sharing your story and the link.

  3. I don’t mean to sound arrogant when I say this, but I was a “gifted” kid myself and can relate to this so much. A majority of the attention and curriculum, not to mention teacher attention, was focused on those that either didn’t care about school or were performing below average. While I agree extra attention needs to be focused on those who need the help, enough was never done to address the stagnation of those that excelled and could have been doing much more.

    One day a week I was sent to a special program, but that ended in middle school and high school was a joke. Funding was issue, of course, but they figured we were “okay” and could fend for ourselves. I wasn’t challenged and lost interest in things, which makes me wonder how things might be different if more options were available.

    Thought-provoking post.

  4. What a great, thought provoking post. We were told half way through my daughter’s pre-k school year that she had already completed all of the pre-k and kindergarten curriculum and there was nothing more they could do for her. She also told me my daughter seemed bored and uninterested. We homeschool now and it’s the best decision we could have made for our family.
    I’m so glad your son is finally able to enjoy school!

  5. I wasn’t on the level that it sounds like your gifted son is, but I was in GATE classes and took advanced math courses as soon as they were available. (Which I’m sure shocks you after our facetime chat.) I envy my brother who performed at an average level. I’m glad that your school district is one that gets it because after elementary school, my grades started dropping.

    I wasn’t being challenged anymore and instead of doing the things that all came so easily to me, I just did nothing. If I knew I could do it without a problem what’s in it for me to spend the time doing that instead of watching TRL?

    My brother on the other hand, he always struggled just enough that he had to pay attention and sometimes ask for help.

    I envy that ability so much now. I don’t know how to ask for help, so I end up not going after things that challenge me now. Make sure they keep pushing him. Make sure he has assignments that aren’t just filler for him because it doesn’t help him in the end!

    • Actually, it is on the schools’ radars, they just don’t do anything about it. There’s no funding for gifted education in Illinois, no mandate, no requirement they do a single thing about it. So they don’t. Gifted education, or what passes for it, is on a district by district (and frankly, a school by school) basic in this state. When we moved here from CO almost three years ago, I had spent easily six months trying to find a district/school that could and would accommodate our twice-exceptional son. Thought I’d found one. Oops. We just started our third year of homeschooling this week.
      And this is a problem for the youngest students. Preschool and kindergarten. Gifted doesn’t come down from the skies when a kid is eight, it’s there at birth, like blue eyes or thick hair. Schools don’t have the money or the teachers or the space or the time to accommodate at that age, so it’s held off until mid-elementary, when a lot of kids have started to give up. They’ve learned that school is not a place of learning, but one of frustration.
      Some parents can pick up the slack, but far too many cannot, and it frustrates me to no end.

      • \”Gifted doesn\’t come down from the skies when a kid is eight..\” <<< This. This, a million times, this. I knew at 10 months.

      • My little one distrusts adults and any organized activites, still, three years after his last experience with public school. Luckily, we can homeschool, although since we both work full time it says a lot that juggling homeschool is still easier than sending our child to school. Much easier.

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