Giftedness Matters


There have been several posts that have been written in response to the article Maybe My Child is Gifted. Maybe Not. Maybe it Doesn’t Matter.

They are all very well written and worth reading. I will list the links below.

When I first read this article I didn’t get mad and I didn’t really get sad. My first reaction was pity. Pity for the author and pity for her children. With her children only being the ages of 3 and 1 years she doesn’t have the experience of what is to come. What her children may go through in the future if they are gifted or what’s even worse, by what she wrote in her article even if they are truly gifted and not just high achievers that she will try to make them fit ‘inside the box’ regardless and their needs won’t be met.

So, yes she blasted an ignorant article about giftedness and gave every bad spin she possibly could and emphasized the stigma that advocates have been trying so hard to change.

But at the end of the day I feel for her children. The children who are not embraced for who they are. They very well could be ‘special snowflakes’ and she isn’t going to love them for that? Actually, all of our children are ‘special snowflakes,’ but that doesn’t mean they are all gifted and definitely shouldn’t be judged if they are. And if her children are gifted she isn’t going to utilize the National Association for Gifted Children, because ‘yes, it is a thing?’ And thank goodness it is, because it’s an excellent resource for parents of gifted children who truly understand. 

The ramifications for not acknowledging gifted children is much worse for them in the long run than trying to get social media attention for not. They have special needs and by not acknowledging giftedness and embracing it she is denying her children the support they may need in the future. When you only have one shot at parenting your children why wouldn’t you educate yourself thoroughly before making decisions or passing judgement based on perception and not facts? Actually, speaking of, the National Association for Gifted Children is a great place to start researching facts!

I pray as her children get older that she sees them, loves them and supports them for who they are. Gifted or not.

Here are some great articles to read in response to the article published from those who are highly educated on giftedness:

An open letter to Farrah Alexander


All Gifted Kids Just Don’t Memorize Facts

I thought long and hard before posting this. I don’t want to demean gifted children in any way. 
See there are several kinds of gifted children as well as those that are 2e. Which means twice exceptional. Which means they are gifted and also have a disability. They could mean they are gifted and dyslexic, gifted and have ADHD, gifted and autistic …the list goes on. That doesn’t make them any less gifted. 

There are cognitively gifted kids and intellectually gifted kids and creatively gifted kids. There are SME that are gifted in all areas. There isn’t a one size fits all mold for giftedness. 

So I am conflicted, because the 10 year old boy that memorized the Constitution makes the news. And that is great and I am sure he is gifted to be able to do that. 

But a child who is younger that understands the Constitution doesn’t. 

And that’s ok. What I’m concerned about this situation in particular, is the stigma that gifted kids can memorize and regurgitate anything easily. I don’t want that to be the only definition that people see and understand, because there is so much more. Madison wants to be President too some day, so we focused on her learning what the Constitution means. Clause by clause.  

My daughter can memorize things very easily. She remembers things she’s only read once. Remembering and memorizing things for her comes extremely easily and in mind blowing ways that I even have a hard time understanding.

And at the same time I don’t want to diminish the accomplishments of this boy, because he has done something adults could rarely do. 

So while we genuinely applaud him and appreciate and recognize his efforts, please keep in mind that this accomplishment which is really awesome, doesn’t define giftedness for everyone. It is one aspect of it. One that should be recognized, but not based solely off of for the definition of giftedness as a whole.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Today ended up being an extremely sad day, but it started out as our unofficial first day of school. I take a picture each year the first day public school starts in our area to keep the pictures at the same time throughout the years. 

And here is our picture from this year:

We school year round so the first day of school is just nostalgic. 

Madison is currently working on getting a jump start on her speeches for speech and debate that starts this upcoming Saturday, Math and Wordly Wise.

Our 14 year old dog developed a deep ulcer in her eye. For the past two and a half weeks we have been trying to cure it, but it was too deep. She has a heart murmur so surgery isn’t the option we were willing to put her though. Today we had to put her to sleep. When I say we, I mean my husband took her because I couldn’t bear to. It was very hard on him.

Madison spent the early afternoon reading to Peanut. She had a good 14 years of life and is no longer in pain, but we miss her terribly already and it will be a major adjustment living without her. 

Even when it is very hard, all good things must come to an end .

When You Read a Post and It Hits Home

I read a lot of posts that come through my email, my Facebook newsfeed and that are tweeted on Twitter.
There are some posts that hit more than others. This one hit home because to me it is spot on. 

When raising a gifted child that is asynchronous sometimes it is hard to navigate between parenting their intellectual, social and emotional development. 

This post spoke strongly to me in particular, because I feel it is very important for Madison to own her mistakes and to be genuinely sorry even if it does mean she will get in trouble. And my favorite of these for a gifted child is #5. 

Yes, gifted kids should be allowed to be who they are and to follow their dreams, but I believe it is equally important for them to be taught how to want to be a good person that does the right thing and cares about others. I feel that goes farther in life than anything else. 

Check out the post from We Are That Family that really hits home. It is excellent. 

8 Conversations We Should Have With Our Kids About Entitlement

What is Normal?

My normal is not what is ‘normal’ for others. I don’t expect anyone to understand this as much as I don’t understand someone else’s normal that isn’t mine.

I have learned to appreciate and accept everyone has a different sense of normal. 

And when I read a post that is very well written and explains what my ‘normal’ is that so many others don’t understand I feel so much better and not alone.

And I thank God everyday and appreciate those who do understand and I am in the process of figuring out how to let go of those that don’t and how to best support Madison in that entire process as well. I can’t take it to heart. At the end of the day it isn’t healthy for either one of us. 

My main goal for Madison this year is to be accepting of others’ shortcomings because she has her own and to do so without making her feel as though she isn’t ‘normal.’ 

And that’s not to say that she won’t  learn the difference between right and wrong along the way or use the way she thinks as an excuse or the fact that she is asynchronous and is emotionally and socially behind . It means we won’t allow her to purposely be subjected to being judged or looked down upon for who she is and we will fully address any issues along the way. But since she doesn’t do things intentionally or with ill will  we need to figure out how to teach her to deal with those that don’t fully understand that. The key is figuring out exactly how to do that. Teaching her how to co-exist. I need a manual for that. 

Raising a Gifted Child Isn’t Easy

When I learned the state of Texas classifies gifted students as special needs, I didn’t fully understand what that meant. 

Until today. 

I have read every book and every article I can. I have tried to learn from those with experience. 

But I will say nothing fully prepares you. 

There isn’t a guide that tells you how to balance their knowledge while keeping their innocence. How to maintain friends and a filter. 

Many see posts and articles about gifted kids as bragging when in reality it’s a shout out to the world to better understand them. They cannot help who they are. 

There’s a fine balance in letting your child know that they have a major grasp of knowledge and that they may think differently than their peers and to not share everything and be someone who they are not. 

Today I found out that it is almost impossible to explain this without divulging how much more they may understand the big picture and that they cannot share or express this with their peers without ruining the innocence of their closest friends in the process. 

See, the hardest part is handling gifted kids with other gifted kids. Especially if the parents of the other kids don’t realize their kids are gifted.

Gifted children are naturally drawn to other gifted chidkren. When they interact it is great. When they find each other they are happy. But that doesn’t mean it’s always rainbows. There are many other issues that arise when gifted kids interact. It is par for the course. Especially when most gifted children are introverts and one that is an extrovert comes along. 

I get that, but when that happens, the normal parenting guide gets thrown out the window. You have to improvise. And  pray. There’s a lot of praying involved. 

My biggest fear is that Madison will be judged. And that’s not an excuse for her shortcomings. But, I fear she will bring out what seems to be the shortcomings of those she is close to. To those she identifies with. To those that are gifted and don’t fit into the normal parenting books are looked down upon for who they really are. 

Standards are mandatory. Faith and Religion is mandatory. Anything that compromises those are not ok. Everything else is.  Fitting inside the box all the time is not good as long as it doesn’t compromise beliefs or family to the point of disruption. There’s always a happy medium. 

Now as Madison gets older it is getting harder. Up until this point she had not realized  where she is intellectually, socially or emotionally. And all are on very different scales. She is starting to question the intellectual part and I’m not sure how to address it.  So if I am struggling to understand what that means and what to do, how to do I even begin to explain it to anyone else? 

Our Plan for Gifted Homeschooling 2016-2017

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We are embarking on our 3rd year of homeschooling this year. The plan this year is to not have a plan.

I had a plan and now it’s scratched. I’m a planner and that is very scary. I like plans. 🙂

So to back up a little bit…I had Madison take the 7th grade Iowa Basic Skills Test. I chose 7th because I wanted her to see that she needed to focus and because she had a lot to learn. Basically to be challenged. When she was taking the test, I told her the same thing even though she wasn’t aware of the grade level of the test she was taking and she replied that she knew more than I realized and she was bored.

We received the test results. I’m not going to post the breakdown or give details because I respect her privacy, but as a quick overview, here is a snapshot idea of her scores that we received. GE is grade equivalent based on a comparison of a national average of students that have finished 7th grade. Chronologically she will be entering 4th grade this year.

I will be honest, her scores freaked me out. She was right. I didn’t realize what she knew. With that said, I started researching. What do I do?

I came to the conclusion from researching that if I try to hold her back it could have a major negative impact on her. I know a lot take that route, but I’m not willing to.

So the new plan is to have a bunch of curriculum options planned and ready to go and she is going to choose what she wants to do. Aside from Math and writing. For Math, I am going to have her keep moving forward and what she doesn’t get we will not worry about until she absolutely needs it to move forward. Currently that is ratios. I am continuing to have her work on her Math facts everyday. I’m not budging on that one. As for writing, we are going to really dive into it this year.

So going forward, I am going to share what works and what doesn’t. I have a bunch of things set and ready to go. If they don’t work then I will table them and try again later. If they don’t work later, then we will try something new. She’s far enough ahead that I feel I can we can take this route and it will not hinder her education in any way.

The picture I chose for this post represents how I feel. There are so many different fabrics to choose from. Where do I start? After I took this picture she turned around to a much smaller stand with less fabric and picked one right away. It’s not up to me. I have to provide her the options and allow her to choose. I have to explain what she will have to know and she chooses the order she learns it.

Being completely in charge of her education and not having a roadmap is absolutely terrifying for me. It’s also kind of lonely. I have support from my family and from a friend, but not being able to openly speak about this is hard. I get it, I wouldn’t be able to understand it if I weren’t living it. That still doesn’t make it any easier though. I am very grateful that at the end of the day, it is me who feels this way and not her. I would never want her to feel this type of isolation. I thank God everyday for that.

My goal of homeschooling was to allow her the option of moving at her own pace while providing an environment that was conducive to her loving to learn. That is our new mission statement I need to remember every day.

Madison craves learning. She loves it if it is what interests her and she can’t get enough. At one point I accepted that I would always be running behind trying to catch up. I just never imagined I would be this far behind.

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