In an effort to get organized I have been researching scope and sequence, curriculums, and what seems to be a never ending fountain of information! I have mentioned in the past where my aspirations lie. I love the theory of Classical with its languages, structure, and focus on classical resources. I love the idea of Charlotte Mason with its nature studies, handicrafts, art/music appreciation, narration and dictation. I love the concept behind Child lead learning in an almost unschool format because of the constant barrage of question thrown at me from these rambunctious kiddos!
When I finally felt like I had organized everything needed for an amazing first grade and Pre k year, I was flabbergasted by what little mans teacher told me at our parent teacher conference.
We knew that he was advanced, we knew he might be gifted (that 6 letter word!), but after being told that our son was the worst student his last teacher had in 30 years we had nothing to prepare us for the bomb being dropped.
Little man will be 6 in two weeks and according to end of the year placements he is reading between a 5th and 6th grade level, his math is between 2nd and 3rd grade and his comprehension of science was “mind blowing” …his teachers words not mine!
He’s no Sheldon Cooper, but I was preparing a rigorous 1st grade curriculum with a few 2nd grade language arts components only to have to begin at square one! So I began to research giftedness a bit more only to find that there is a huge stigma around the word itself! As if claiming that a child who is either gifted intellectually or overtly talented in a specific way is a negative. I also don’t understand why special needs is a term associated with only negative special needs. Either way the child is at one end or the other of the spectrum, and sometimes both simultaneously!
I’m overwhelmed to say the least. I’ve never thought such a special little brain would be entrusted in my hands! He’s just a normal energy filled little boy who loves superheroes and space… Although I’m not sure how many five year olds are fascinated by black holes and quasars.
Yet with all this I also have major apprehensions. I don’t think my kid is better than yours. I think giftedness should be treated exactly the same as any other special need. In that it requires certain actions on the part of parents and educators to foster positive results. Some kids need individual attention to thrive, some need special resources. I am terrified.
With great power comes great responsibility, right? As his mother and his teacher my role is to teach him that his intelligence is a power that requires great responsibility. He needs to know that there are more important things in this world than pure intellectualism. He needs to be taught how to be a man of character, of kindness, of creativity and faith!
I have more than one child though. My girls also scare me with their passions and understandings at such young ages. What happens if they are gifted too? Am I going to have tailor make every curriculum for each of them all the way through high school? I am not saying that I have not been blessed. I’m saying that the sheer weight of the responsibility all this implies has brought me to my knees!
So for now I’m letting go. No curriculum. No week by week plans. I’ve created a loose blueprint of subjects I think are important based on where each kid is currently at and where I want them to be. I have created extensive Pinterest boards with hands on and simple ideas that can be used at the spur of a moment. I have over 200 children’s books and encyclopedias to use as resources. I am not unschooling. I do have a plan. I do have materials to work with. I will implement as much Charlotte mason as will fit into the organic nature of our families learning and if we can mix in a bit of classical too than sweet! Most of all we will follow passions, focus on character, and explore or analyze everything we come across!
And if it doesn’t work, I’ll try something new.
Pray for us. Talk with us, I need reassurance at times that I can even do this. Please don’t condemn us because of it or think that this is in any way an issue of my kid being better than anyone else. It’s not. This is us trying to figure out how to give each of our crazy kids exactly what they need. 🙂