Parenting has it’s challenges. Children who have “differences” can create a greater challenge for parents. The differences can be medical, emotional, intellectual, physical, or psychological. One day I was struggling with my children and I knew it was because of the way they process information. I posted on Facebook and someone told me that saying my children are gifted is bragging. YES MY CHILDREN ARE GIFTED….NO IT’S NOT BRAGGING TO SAY THAT. No, sometimes it’s a cry for HELP because it can be very lonely when other parents do not know what you are going through! Telling someone that saying something is bragging is another way to prevent people from reaching out for help. My children have a learning difference that often needs special attention*, which is why I focused my area of concentration in my Master’s program on Gifted Education. (*See how I found out my daughter was gifted below.)
Last year, I spent over $600 changing curriculum for my son (one of the three children). The first change was due to learning style. Then with the other curriculum he would go through it so fast he would be able to master it in no time and be bored; except spelling because he’s twice-exceptional (2e). Twice-exceptional students are those who are gifted and have a learning disability/difference. My son has trouble with dyslexia and dysgraphia. There are many books and resources that help students with this special type of learning need. (I will cover this area in another post.) My daughter is able to handle any curriculum as long as she receives visual stimulation. She is a visual learner and an avid reader. She likes to be challenged with visual puzzles and patterns. She will stare at paintings to find the patterns in the artwork.
I am not alone in feeling isolated in a world which doesn’t understand the vast differences of gifted students. In Gifted Child Quarterly an article, Homeschooling the Gifted: A Parent’s Perspective, listed isolation as one challenge that parents of gifted children feel. The parents feel as if no one understands what they are going through while homeschooling a gifted child. The authors note that parents mention it’s hard to talk about gifted children with others who may misinterpret what they mean when they say gifted.
Many times people have preconceived ideas of what giftedness is supposed to look like. Students who are “nerds” (PS nerds rule. I’m a total nerd!); those who are master’s at chess or computers, or super geniuses. Giftedness takes many forms and gifted children can have a normal IQ. Giftedness can be in the form of creativity or unique talents as well.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD IS GIFTED?
Reach out for help. One of the best things that I did is I started looking up online communities for Gifted Homeschoolers on social media. The best one that I found so far is Gifted Homeschoolers Forum: www.giftedhomeschoolers.org You can find lists of resources, curriuclum, online classes, a parent forum, and more. Facebook groups are also available.
No matter what, GET CONNECTED. This has been the best thing that I have done. I can post in a forum or on a group about how I have hit a struggle and get ideas from those who have been in similar situations but are not emotionally connected to the situation. Many times we need “fresh eyes” on a subject.
HOW I FOUND OUT ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 3 because he could was always moving. However, a couple of years later the “symptoms” disappeared when he was beginning school. A friend, who is a psyhcologist, recommended that I get him tested for giftedness. (No, he does not have ADHD. It was a misdiagnosis.).
A few months later, I began working with my daughter on subtraction. She began to argue with me that 5 – 2 does not equal 3 because the 2 still exists. I asked her if you have 5 cookies, then I take 2 and eat them. How many cookies are left? She told me that there are still 5 cookies, just 2 are chewed up in my tummy. If we were doing physics, I would have been excited but I was more confused than anything. It would be very difficult to argue with her throughout the year. After this incident, I had them both tested. I knew I was in for a challenge now. This is how I learned about the VAST differences among gifted children. I am still learning everyday and improving upon my methods of teaching. My goal is to provide an education for my children that will allow them to follow their dreams and passions.