Sunday, September 16, 2007

the state of gifted education

Yes this is considered a sometimes politically incorrect topic, but it has been on my mind a lot lately. Every child is an individual with diverse abilities, interests, and talents that doesn't make one child more or less valuable. We need everyones unique abilities to make this world a great place, but I am frustrated with the lack of options and accommodation for bright kids. This sector of education has sharply declined in the 20-25 yrs since I was child. It was far easier for me to get services in rural florida school in the 1980s or in a tiny DOD school in Turkey, then it is now. Seriously, at my sons current school there is no program in place to meet the needs of gifted children. It is a small but nice school with many great things (specials every day, small class sizes, good staff, very supportive parents)- but to me this is a travesty. It is a lonely road to be the sole parent in the principals office advocating for this under served population and demanding something be done. I guess part of it is I know to much, I used to teach education classes at the college and university level- I am not okay with mediocre education, I am not okay with boring children to death, I am not okay will skill and drill ad naseum, I am not okay with pointless dribble worksheets. These children need a faster paced curriculum, for creative enriching projects, not more work but different work, etc. One of the great myths is kids with bright kids will do fine in a normal setting because they aren't failing in anything-- but what angers me the most is they are not learning either. I respect children and I respect them enough to believe their time and energy is valuable. Why can't people just understand that different brains work differently, without judgement and stigma, why is it I feel like I have have to deal with "gifted issues" in silence- for fear of being the mom who says "my kid is so smart". We do we place a judgement on the rate or style in which a child learns as if it is some sort of a race. I think my son is special in the same way every other mom on the planet thinks her child is special. IQ tests don't mean everything, they are not the only measure of intelligence, most intelligences cannot be measure in a test. When it comes to my sons life accomplishments I would far rather have a son that is good, kind, and makes a difference in the world than one who is "smart"- but I can tell you if you score 50 on an IQ test (average score is 100) you are going to need some help significant intervention to navigate our current educational system, in fact it would be against the law to fail to provide services, why is there no law (okay not in my state some states have them) serving a child who scores in the 150s. I guess I think of some of the great experiences I had in education- I wish i could sit back and let my child just enjoy the ride and trust it was giving him what it should, but the ride is changing and not for the better and I can't in any moral conscience not speak up. I worry about the future of some of our kids because our current systems are failing them. So yes I have lost a lot of sleep, money, time over this in the past year, we have been through hours of testing, assessment, meetings, I have spent hours researching trying to come up with creative solutions, meeting with teachers and administrators and we are starting to work out some accommodations. The thing is in know this isn't the end, it will be battle I will have to continue to fight and sometimes that is exhausting and sometimes I wish more people would stand up for their kids and what they need.

I did it!

$9 for 3 pack of truck, robot, and race car underwear
$6 at Gap for camoflague and robot packs of underwear
$15 dollars in potty prizes at the dollar tree

To have your child potty trained and enjoy a few months of diaper freedom before another baby arrives- PRICELESS!

Yes, I got through potty training round two- that has consumed my life for the last 2 weeks- smart son has been wanting too for a while (I knwo what kind fo terrible mother won't let their child potty train), but i wanted to stall him off until school started and we could be more homebound for a few days doing hourly potty runs. Well sure enough 3rd day of school for smart son, smart baby woke up and told me his diapers "had a problem" and he only wanted underwear- "they are my favorite!" And from then on we've been going strong- days, naps, nights- the whole schebang! I am really proud of smart baby- he's 2 and 3 months! He's been doing great and is totally digging a day with all those sweet tarts, gummy bears, and marshmellows.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

end of summer fun

Well summer has finally come to a close and we wrapped it up with a slew of fun creative activities. I know that seems to be all i post about lately- but i am archiving this so if my kids ever try to pull the "you never doing anything fun" or "you're not cool" lines with me I can go back and show them that in august of 2007 I was a fun mom. The smart boys have been having a great time with liquid watercolors and Smart son learned how to do salt and sugar effects with paint. We did sunprint paper (the blue) simply lay objects on it in different sunlight - rinse under water and voila! cool positive/negtaive space project- special bonus points for people who can identify all the sunprinted objects! We did foam piece Dr. Seuss villages - my boys have always liked reading the the Lorax book and so we made these- you just use the foam pieces that when dipped in water stick to each other- just don't dip them in too much water or they turn to mush- right smart baby. Smart son discovered scratchboard- I totally loved his "sampler piece"- He divided it into all these sections and made all different patterns (one series he entitled pattern subtraction) and we made glurch (yes the borax and elmers glue one).

The saddest part of summer was sending smart son off for his first day of 1st grade! I totally miss him when he is gone- because as you can see we have a pretty good time together! I hope he has a great year! And to celebrate his first day we do our traditional snack treasure hunt- he comes home to a slew of clues and follows them to find his hidden after school snack!