Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Gifted but Difficult

When I was a schoolteacher, I taught the gifted and talented within my regular classroom. Most kids identified as GT are academically high achieving and enjoy the school experience if they are challenged. However, there is a subset of GT kids who (though they may be high achievers in the right setting) have a rough time managing their own behavior and an especially difficult time socializing with their peers. Homeschooling is definitely the best setting for these kids, in my not so humble opinion, but even as homeschoolers they may struggle with behavior in their family and have difficulty making and keeping friends--they are often bullied and form better friendships with adults than with peers.

Do you know (or live with) any kids like that? I am leading a roundtable discussion session at the VaHomeschoolers Conference in August on the topic and it would be morethanfine to get some input from parents who live with, or have lived with, what I refer to as a 'chronically gifted' child. I have the teacher perspective and am good friends with 2 moms who are parenting difficult GT kids, but I would like to suppplement it with even more parental perspective (especially if you have girls--most of my experience is with boys.)

My friend Shay's smart blog!

My friend and colleague at VaHomeschoolers now has her own blog. Shay is the president of VaHomeschoolers and recruited me 2 years ago to serve on the board. We are as different as night and day in many areas but we both love helping homeschoolers and seeing our inclusive statewide organization be strong and vital. Shay is a great writer and I recommend her blog Anecdotal Evidence and her website Synergy Field for interesting reading. A quote from her first post:
"recognize that human beings are hardwired to learn, to allow oneself to dance free of the constraints of institutional thinking, and to truly grasp that most things worth attaining cannot be measured by any test"

That is my kind of talk and a way morethanfine statement on the nature of education. I am reading Alfie Kohn's book "What does it mean to be well-educated?" Very thought provoking. For me it reinforces what I know to be true from my years of school teaching and homeschooling. To be truly well-educated is custom fit, personalized, life long process. Tests and boxes and cookie cutters, bending to the demands of authority and being a good worker bee do not fit into my definition of being well-educated.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Like a death...

I have wanted to but not wanted to blog for a few days. The marriage of some close homeschooling friends has broken down and the couple has separated, hopefully temporarily. It was such a shock because we never saw it coming. We knew some stuff was going on but we tchalked it up to a career change and the new trials of being self-employed. Looking back you see little pieces that you recognize, in hindsight, as indicators that something was going on behind the scenes but we never connected those dots.

Now we are in the midst of feeling helpless, trying not to take sides and even going through some of the stages of grief, as if something has died--and I guess it is our ignorant bliss, our loss of innocence and shock about the hard stuff that was occurring behind closed doors and especially the pain at feeling that we were in some way tricked by the happy masks that hid the garbage from site.

The helplessness is the worst; hugs, prayers, encouraging words are all we have to offer--our love in the midst of pain. It is so depressing and I endeavor to find the morethanfine in there somewhere...