I have, what is commonly referred to as, “children who are too smart for their own good.” AKA: Gin and Tonic. Or, rather, GIfted and Talented. (Anyone else automatically have visions of limey goodness with the accronym GnT?)
My children have both been very successful academically. That is to say, they have ROCKED the preschool scene over and over. Colors? They got’em! Letter? All 26! Numbers? Counting to 12! Conceptually adding and subtracting before age four!
Shitting themselves? STILL!
I’ve only recently realized the potential my two children hold. Both their teachers are amazed and flabbergasted by their intelligence. “Oh, that’s going to be an issue later” they say. And I know they’re right because my daughter is reading at age 4 and a half (remember the “and a half” people, it’s VERY important) and will go to a private kindergarten in the fall to skirt the date cutoff since she’s an October baby. But after this year, there is still a chance she will have to repeat Kindergarten, not based on her intelligence, academics, or readiness socially, but strictly because the schools are full.
There will be children in Kindergarten learning their letters while my daughter is adding and subtracting and counting by twos. Kids will be entering the system because they are “of age” while my daughter is being held back in a system that is failing her miserably.
I’ve frequently heard that “everyone catches up by fourth grade anyway” and it finally hit me: It’s not that all the other children grow and mature and learn, it’s that we hold the ones too far ahead back and the ones too far behind drop further back a grade. Perhaps, yes, it does even out by fourth grade, but I’m starting to believe this isn’t the best path for my children. I’m not ready to comitt to homeschooling as of yet, because I understand my childrens’ own needs for a space we don’t have and other children and teacher’s I am not. But the argument that “we did fine in a public school” isn’t going to slice it for me. We did go through The System. The Same System that is being “reformed” to “leave no child behind and let no child too far ahead.” I know teachers work hard and do an amazing job. I don’t envy them. I just don’t think The System has the support needed for anyone different. Anyone unique. Anyone not plastic.
Maybe I’m wrong. But it looks like I’ll be working with some pretty amazing kids for the rest of their lives. I’m grateful for this, blown away by their eagerness to learn, and humbled by my inability to keep up.
I sometimes fail as a mom, but in this one tiny area, I’m going to see if I can’t be what they need and find the resources to help them succeed. It’s the best I can do. I expect the best out of them.
Totally picking up what you’re laying down.
I, too, was an early reader and labeled as “G&T”. Fortunately for me though, I started school in a foreign country so when the principal found out how advanced I was, he had no qualms having me skip first grade. I remember being in first grade for about two weeks—helping other kids with their reading, seeing someone throw up under their chair—and then being extremely grateful for having the chance to go into second grade, where I was challenged with harder books and math problems.
While I didn’t like being younger than everyone else when I graduated high school (or being called jail bait as a freshman in college), I do appreciate that my parents and the school system took my G&T nature into consideration. Not sure that this would have happened if I had been in the States.
(Do I totally sound like a smartypants now?)
By Tara Anderson on 2009 06 24
You being there for them is the best thing and the thing they need the most. I was also an early reader and in the g&t programs growing up. School was pretty boring for me, but my parents gave me (and my brother, who was in the same boat) extra stuff to do at home- things that challenged us and helped us keep up to our full potential. Which wasn’t always easy, because even though I was advanced, I was also lazy and hated having to do anything that wasn’t easy to do.
All that to say- you probably are going to have your hands full and will have to constantly be thinking of new ways to teach your kids something more, but it will pay off and they will be grateful for it someday.
By Carrie on 2009 06 24
You’re doing a great job! Such cutie children!!
By AmazingGreis on 2009 06 24
That video reminds me so much of Wito around that exact same age.
Some pretty amazing kids…and some pretty amazing parents! Kudos to you!
By whoorl on 2009 06 24
Im not sure what state you live in but here in my burb outside of Dallas we have a gifted and talented program so that our gifted kids don’t get held back so that the other slower kids can catch up. You probably have but if not you should look into it. I know a few ladies who rave about the GAT program here. I know both of my girls are very smart, but I have one in particular who I know is gifted. I will have to look into those courses when she is in school.
By MelissaQ on 2009 06 24
Our school system called it GATE, gifted and talented education.
That program saved me from completely hating school in fourth grade. We got to leave class and go do GATE stuff for ... a few hours? a day? every few weeks. It was AWESOME.
In sixth grade, we got bussed to a central location to learn with kids from the other elementary schools for all-day, every once in awhile, and that was awesome, too.
I think that having a lot of library trips can certainly help to compensate. Hopefully your school system will have some program!
By Al_Pal on 2009 06 24
I got halfway through and was immediately thinking “just homeschool!” You’ve taught them how to walk and talk, and heck, read and write! Talk to stroke victims and ask what the hardest things to re-master are…
Just keep standing your ground (and if one of them corrects a teacher in class because said teacher had the facts wrong, refuse the Ritalin like MIL did for hubby) and keep ‘em busy.
Although you know how odd I am. I think.
By Lanna on 2009 06 25
Is it me or does she look like a teenager in these photos?
By Maria on 2009 06 25
I know EXACTLY how you feel, plus four years down the road.
I don’t know what the hell to do either. I’ve read people who complain about schools have no right because their is a choice to homeschool and make things better. Only what if that choice also includes mommy becoming an alcoholic because she isn’t the type that can be with her kids 24/7 and, OMG, I’D LIKE TO GET A JOB SOON.
My plan now is to change my advocating tactics, meaning I’m going to be more of a bitch about it. I’ve played nice for 3 years, not working.
Let’s clink our GnT glasses together, mkay?
By Heather, Queen of Shake Shake on 2009 06 25
right fucking on.
By VDog on 2009 06 25
My brother and I were also early readers and went through the gifted programs at public school. It worked for me, mostly because I was motivated to do lots (too much?) reading on my own and had parents who were great advocates at getting extra learning in and out of the classrooms.
My mom’s big push was to have us be well-rounded, too. It can be tough to encourage the GnT learning and encourage social/emotional learning at the same time. Not that I’m super outgoing now, but without that emphasis, I might never talk to anyone.
By TexasRed on 2009 06 25
This is wonderful to hear- but I really understand your lament over the failing system in this situation! How frustrating it is when our children only have one chance and grow old so fast.. I hope you can really help them to still make the most of their qualities whilst still at a tender age. Keep us posted!
By Baby Pushchairs on 2009 06 28
rarely find these kids. don’t mind the falling part until they are there. what is important is that you are well aware of that. and that would be good enough coz you will know what to do when the time comes.
By Eileen Gray on 2009 06 29
This is why I am homeschooling and also why I left education.
By Kristina Brooke on 2009 07 01