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.



Research that the news story was based on.


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.


Taking a Field Trip Day

I’m currently sitting in the field museum basement by the narwhals writing this on a Wednesday morning.  My son is in class here today.  About 2 weeks ago I saw something pop up on Facebook that I thought my son would enjoy.  It was a guided tour of the Egyptian display at the Field museum designed for 10-14 years old.  Then the following happened:

I show Braden a field trip opportunity to Field Museum to learn about Egypt.

“No thanks” he says

“What? Why not? You love Egypt?”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to go review a bunch of stuff I already know”

“It’s the Field museum, they’re world experts on Egypt. Surely you’ll learn something”

“Then they should have a pre-test to see what you know and then divide you into groups so you don’t have to hear stuff you already know”

And then I laughed because how do you argue that?

After looking at the dates and realizing that it was on a Wednesday and not a Saturday I told him that he would miss school that day.

He was on board.

This program is really designed for kids who are home schooled. Specifically, it’s for gifted kids.  I didn’t think twice about pulling him from his public school to do this.  How often does he get to be with a group of like minded kids discussing a topic that he has a high interest in?

I’m sure his school might feel differently.  I know they discourage taking your child out for vacations, though that happens all the time.

I’ve come to a point in his education that I realize traditional school is somewhat limited in topics. Also, for him to really explore various topics to the depth he enjoys, outside experiences like this must take place.

Having a child who has a high thirst for information sometimes means doing things a bit differently.  I’m already looking into other programs like this that he can participate in.

I feel as though the experience today will be something he remembers years from now.  Maybe it will inspire him (even more).  Maybe challenge his mind to information he didn’t know before.

Maybe make him realize that he actually doesn’t know everything about everything.


I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

Paying to get into Educational Programs

My son and I walk into a local enrichment company for a brief assessment on his math skills.  This was the first step in having him do math over the summer.  Since I don’t enjoy doing math and his father works long hours, this was our solution to the “summer slip” this year.  My son is not struggling with math but just like any skill, take 3 months off and it gets a little rusty.

We walk in and the woman at the counter gives us a form to fill out.  It seemed to be standard procedure until this conversation:

For your reference:

Enrichment- pulled out from classroom and do work put together by teacher.  It’s usually higher level thinking work. 

HM- Honors Math

PI- Honors English

PI+- Gifted program that encompasses all subjects.


“What programs is your son in at school?”

“He’s in Honors Math and PI.”

“Why isn’t he in PI+ program?”

“Oh, well his scores don’t fit the matrix to get in”

“We can get him in that program.”


I am fortunate to be in a district that offers levels in subjects starting in elementary.  Braden was put in a Kindergarten enrichment class in preschool.  He continued in enrichment for both reading/math in all his years until the honors classes started up in 3rd grade.   He has been tested and accepted into the Northwestern talent and development school for gifted learners.  We did no prepping for these programs, they just happened.


“I’m not sure the program is a fit for us”

“The PI+ program is the best education in the district; don’t you want the best for your child?  My children are in that program and it is excellent.  We can work with your son and get him in.”


I know that the PI+ program is for the gifted kids in our district, but according to their testing matrix, my son is not a fit.  My sons standardized test scores can be submitted for Mensa, but does not qualify him for our districts gifted program.  It’s that competitive.

My son goes back for the assessment but I already know that this place isn’t a fit.  As I sit there, children come in and go back to their lessons but instead of looking at them as my sons peers, I now see them as his competition.

Are they all working towards getting into these programs?  Are these programs filled with children who have been tutored to test in?  I’m not saying that all the children in the programs have done this but it must happen otherwise it wouldn’t have been a “selling point” to me.

As I sit there I notice the company’s accolades on the wall

“95 % of kids who take our courses get into the top 10% of colleges”

Maybe these parents think that the gifted program is the first step into college.    How is test prepping at this age any different than the SAT or ACT prep classes held for high school students that promise “a 5 point increase after this course.”

I just sit there and feel conflicted.  I know that they could get him into the program but prepping my son to get into a program that he doesn’t naturally fall into doesn’t feel right.

We leave to never return.

School starts back up in a week.  My son did do some math online this summer but nothing formal or scheduled, just whenever I remembered.  I know there is some rust that has grown, but I’m ok with that.  And while some children will start the year off with a breeze, he’ll just have to work a little harder to catch up.  I think that has value too.