When I decided that I wanted to blog, I struggled to find a name for my blog that I liked, that fit what I would be sharing and, well, that wasn’t already taken. I finally settled on There’s No Place Like Home because my home is so much a reflection of who I am and what I do. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last 7 years with our 4th and LAST child. I enjoy baking, cooking when I feel like it (which is NOT everyday) and finding ways to be more frugal.
I’m about to embark on a new journey with my little guy-homeschooling. I was not home-schooled and I knew nothing about it until I began my education program for my teaching degree. I actually did a research paper on the topic and was intrigued. At that time, I didn’t have child #4, and in fact had no plans for another child. So, the research was shelved. Before I completed my program, I discovered that I was expecting. Considering our children at that time were 14, 13 and 11, that news shocked my socks off.
Fast forward to the present and my little treasure is in 1st grade in a public school. Kindergarten was a breeze for him, but that was no surprise. I had invested much time into shaping him into a good little prototype, uh, I mean, student. Hubby is a secondary teacher, so we had this education stuff down. Our child was well prepared. This year we came to some unexpected conflicts. Our dear little boy was performing at the top of his class and was in fact, bored. He’s a chatty little guy so we had a lot of notes home about his talking at inappropriate times, like when walking back from lunch or in the recess line. He flew through his work and when he was done, he would chat with his peers. He ended up with a behavior chart. GASP! I couldn’t believe that he was given a behavior chart for talking. Now, to be fair, he had two episodes of behavior that were not about chatting. He got in some little girl’s face because she was doing the plug the ears and make annoying noises when he was talking to her. He’s not real tolerant of being ignored. And once he was talking during instruction. Far be it for me to lead anyone to believe my child is perfect. He’s not. But he really is a sweet kid who loves everyone. So we thought the behavior chart was a bit over the top. He wasn’t disrespectful or naughty. He just talks incessantly. We tried to work with the teacher and our son to resolve the issues, but to no avail. He wouldn’t stop talking and she kept charting every offense. So, I went back to my research.
This time I was researching giftedness. Our son tests in the 99th percentile, which means that he scored higher on standardized tests than 99% of other students. He’s reading (as far as we know) at a 3rd/4th grade level. His teacher will not allow him to advance because she believes he has fluency issues. He doesn’t. What he has is an attitude problem. You see, he knows he’s smart. In fact, just the other day he told me that he is an unusual 1st grader. He knows he’s different. Because his 1st grade anthology book reads like a Dick and Jane book, and he’s reading chapter books in one sitting, he doesn’t exactly cooperate when asked to read aloud. He reads as fast as he can without stopping appropriately for punctuation. Teachers don’t like this.
When I began researching gifted students, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. The book described my son perfectly. I came across a list of characteristics of gifted children and he had every one of them. Now, let me say, I am very proud of my little boy. I always knew there was something different about him-something special. But I had no idea that he was anything but a little smart for his age. I’m not bragging here. Ok, maybe a little. But not much. But I have learned that giftedness is not just about being smart. It’s about the way he thinks. The fact that his little brain is always going a mile a minute. Learning about giftedness has helped me to understand him. He’s intense, mentally exhausting at times, constantly questioning. He is what you would call a precocious child.
So, I took my information to the principal. Now, let me say, I AM an educated woman. But that doesn’t mean I think I know everything. Far from it. But one thing I do know well, and that’s my child. I mentioned to the principal that my son was on a behavior chart for talking. I won’t share every detail of the conversation, but the bottom line is, I asked him if they could do anything to challenge our son more since he is bored and his classwork was too easy for him. He told me that they have no gifted or enrichment programs until 4th grade. In the meanwhile, he needed Micah to fit in.
To be fair, I didn’t expect much. The schools are overwhelmed with helping kids who struggle, and I would never begrudge a child getting the help needed to succeed. But the research on gifted kids shows that if they do not get their needs met, they may begin to exhibit serious behavior problems, and possibly depression.
That is why I decided to homeschool my son. I actually decided years ago, while doing that research paper. Before my little treasure was even a twinkle in my eye. Knowing what I know about homeschooling, and giftedness, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m excited about our new adventure and a little worried. He’s not a child that is satisfied with the status quo. He doesn’t FIT IN. He marches to his own tune. Now, I must figure out what that tune is so he can be who God made him to be!