Just Like… Me!?

This past fall we made the decision to let go of our Unschooling ways in favor for a more structured Charlotte Mason routine and now, half a year later, I am taking a second look at our decision. This is not what I was planning. I had glorious visions of days filled with us out in nature, surrounded by classical literature, art, and music. I had so many dreams and visions. I expected my children to love the extra reading time too but that hasn’t happened. Instead everyday has been a challenge, every assignment a battle.

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Here’s the thing, I am not convinced its the change of style causing all the havoc. I’ve been noticing a trend with my two oldest over the years that has nagged at me but not really worried me. I thought it was a phase. Maybe it still is a phase, but this new style has highlighted the issue. The issue? Underachievement!

I’m sure that part of the problem began with their perfectionism and the need to get things done right but now its morphed into a need for things to be easy. Easy things don’t present a challenge, easy things can be done without really thinking, planing or having to fail repeatedly. After all, failing is not the greatest feeling in the world … I should know, I hate failing.

 I hate failing so much that I dropped honors classes in high school because it was easier to be the smartest kid in the class in a regular class getting straight A’s without trying than it was to actually have to pay attention in class, take notes and …*gasp* study (!) to make B’s in honors! That trend followed me all the way through my undergrad years and is the dirty secret behind my 5 major changes in one semester. Actually, I didn’t learn how to study until grad school and even then it wasn’t out of necessity but rather out of intrigue for the subject matter. 

I get it, I really do. Finding out that my kids are gifted opened my eyes to my own undiagnosed giftedness. My kids are just like me! I study best when I’m fascinated by the materials. I have sensory sensitivities, I displayed asynchronous development in my younger years, I felt at ease academically in every level …all of the oddities that I struggled with in myself made so much sense when I saw them in my children through the lens of Giftedness, but this is a bit different. This is like a gifted fault that I have passed on to my children…a fault that I still struggle with!

 I still choose the easy way out. I still shoot down hard options that could be very rewarding because I’ve allowed underachievement to control some of my major life decisions in really unhealthy ways. I still am an underachiever. 

I have so many ideas that constantly flow through my mind:

-possible websites that could help homeschoolers search through the millions of free and cheap resources that are already online (I’ve had this one for the past four years!),

– creating a History curriculum that looks at interactions world wide through a billiard ball effect over time (this one I’ve had festering since my teaching days back in 2005!)…

 I’ve had these ideas and the means to make them possible for years but I just haven’t even started one of them. Part of it is fear of failure, part of it is wondering if I have the credentials to be taken seriously once they are finished, part of it is wondering if they are just crazy ideas that don’t matter, and part of it is just laziness because all of them require determination and effort. 

Finding giftedness in yourself after noticing it in your children can be a wonderful link bonding the two generations in a special way. Knowing that your children’s quirks are just like yours adds to the level of understanding and compassion that as a parent is really necessary for your everyday peace, but not every quirk is one you wanted to pass down.

So now I face a new challenge.

 How do I face underachievement in its beginning stages with my young children when I have spent years running from it in myself? 

A challenge of this magnitude is usually one that I would try to avoid. I know this is going to be tough. I know that I may not succeed with my first idea. I know that the stakes are high. I know all of this, but if I am going to help any of them face their own underachievement, then I need to face my own. I don’t know if I need to tweak our style again. I don’t know if I need to put more of an emphasis on the child led aspects that we used to hold to with only some subjects being mandated by Mom. I don’t know what I need to do!

 I didn’t write this post with the intention of tackling how to fix underachievement among gifted students. This post is a part of the GHF Blog Hop: Recognizing Giftedness in Our Children and Ourselves because  sometimes recognizing giftedness is recognizing the sides of giftedness that we may not want to admit to, especially in ourselves. After all, the first step towards fixing anything is admitting that there is something that needs to be fixed. It is sometimes realizing that I can’t say “your child…” to my husband jokingly because this time, they are Just Like …Me!?

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7 comments on “Just Like… Me!?

  1. Underachiever here too!
    I do agree that we need to set goals and follow through ourselves. Can’t wait to hear about your upcoming projects too!! 😉 Then, our kids can follow our lead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tabitha says:

      Eeek! Projects? Oh my that scares me so much but the History idea has been on my mind the longest and at this point is the most likely one to see the light of day… Only time can tell but I really appreciate your encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Ann Valenti says:

    Gifted mom of two gifted kids (1 profoundly so), both in public school. I’m no expert, but your kids sound totally fine in the sense that most of us, gifted especially, will take the path of least resistance. It’s safe, and comforting. As you well know, they’ll go the extra mile when THEY WANT TO. Looking at the above post…perhaps you can finally start some of your projects, failure be damned? Sometimes kids like it when they see parents struggle – makes us more relatable, I guess. Maybe push yourself , and then they will follow. By the way, I give you a lot of credit to homeschool. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. Good Luck!

    Like

    • Tabitha says:

      Thank you and in return I give you a lot of credit as well, being a mom of kids in public school is a lot of work too and takes a level of commitment in its very own way!

      I completely agree that to a point choosing the easier way is probably just a natural part of life, especially within the gifted population, but in the case of my children the decline can be seen even in areas of their interests. Places where they once welcomed challenge they now cut corners to make things as easy as possible, even at the expense of learning something new in favor of repeating information they’ve already learned. In isolation it’s not a big deal, but when the same behavior is repeated often enough it becomes a habit of underachievement. One I would prefer to try and nix before allowing it to grow any worse.

      Like

  3. Paula Prober says:

    Great post, Tabitha. Underachieving is such an important issue. I’m right in the middle of writing a post about fear of failure so I’m right with ya! Good for you for seeing it in yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “…sometimes recognizing giftedness is recognizing the sides of giftedness that we may not want to admit to, especially in ourselves…”

    I love this line so much, Tabitha. Recognizing giftedness in our kids or ourselves can be so unsettling, and yes, the big ugly ‘U’ rears its head. I have an underachiever, and AM a perfectionist. We clash often. ❤

    Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

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