Wasn't sure if I should put this in Parenting or schooling however...
As the new schooling yr is beginning to loom I have found myself doubting things. I have a 2e gifted 9 yr old who has had many struggles within the education system. At the 2 different schools we have attended no one has ever really acknowledged his giftedness or learning problems. He really is only achieving at grade level slightly above ave. we have other social issues with himat school also and we are currently awaiting further assessment for Aspergers and ADHD.
I feel that he is the sort of child who would do well homeschooled. The issue I have is that I know that I couldn't home school him, I feel bad saying that but he is way beyond me in many of the areas that interest him. Simply I don't think like him at all and often I just don't "get" him. His father could homeschool him but that isn't even an option as he has to work or we all starve. He is very intense, full on and often hard work and if I were to home school it would 24/7 7 days a week with no time out the regroup, we have no family support to rely on. Also due to his many social issues, many of which he isn't aware are a problem, I feel he needs to be around other children and learn to interact on a social level with his peers.
I feel as though I am letting him down but just don't know what else I can do. Has anyone else been torn as to the right thing to do?
I met someone a while ago whose child was part of a group of about 6 or 7 kids and their parents. Each parent taught/cared for the group of children for a half day or so each week- (working singly or with another parent) playing to their (the parents') various strengths: teaching science, art, language, gardening, maths, sports etc etc. The group bought a van and the parents each took half a day off work and schooled the kids in their particular subject. There were lots of trips and fun and the parents got to impart the best of their knowledge without having to give up work or get too exhausted/stale for the children. Sounded like an amazing set-up to me - allowing the best of home-schooling and 'normal' schooling. I wonder if that is something you could consider if you have a group of like-minded friends?
I couldn't homeschool either which I do sometimes feel guilty about. Not because I don't think like my son but because I recognise that I am a strong introvert. Basically if I don't get cave time all by myself and regularly I become very strung out, unable to handle the ups and downs of parenting. Yes, school holidays are a challenge.
Anyway don't feel bad if you can't homeschool for whatever reason - it is better to aware of this in in advance and look at other options.
Hi Meand3, I very much empathise with your struggles with the education system and your 2E son. Our middle child is also 2E and his success at school over his time in 2 NZ primary schools gradually deminished to the point where he spent the whole of his year 5 class gazing out of the window and absolutely no work was produced. We had him tested independantly and were dumbfounded that neither the teachers or the school had any training in "gifted' or knowledge of One Day School. ODS was a salvation to us but then we were transfered to the USA.
The work this child produces in his current (Independant) School is nothing short of a miraculous transformation. We still have our challenges over time management, and managing personal belongings etc but he was accepted and celebrated immediately at school for what he is great at. His teacher is a gifted specialist, and all of the teachers have training.
Our son immediately qualified for extra time for tests but generally excells grade wise. He thrives in an environment where the work is meaningful to him and where there is absolutely No Excuse for work being incomplete. I would have to say that whilst no kids seem to be specifically 'labelled' many of them are gifted and a significant number are 2E, a lot are decidedly 'quirky' in wonderful ways.
I appreciate that none of this is specifically helpful, but I hope that by contributing I can reinforce to other parents that our chlidren in New Zealand do deserve far far better and somehow we have to convince the Education Department that we are selling our brightest and most interesting children short, to the detriment of the country.
There are so many things about the US that do not sit well for me but to have our 3 having this educationally environment means we will stick it out as long as we can. All the best for championing your son and fighting for his opportunities.
It seems to me that we have been conditioned to believe that children need to be around other children for social reasons because it suits "the powers that be" for us to believe that - I have found no evidence of it actually being true. Logically it doesn't actually stand up to scrutiny.
In fact I very deliberately kept my grandson away from ECE for as long as possible for the very reason I didnt want him to learn the "normal" social skills of children his age. Why would I want him to learn the social/moral reasoning of other 2/4/6/8 year olds when he could be learning social/moral reasoning that will serve him well in any positive situation?
In some areas, at 6, he is way beyond me in some areas - it REALLY doesnt matter - if you provide the resources and learning opportunities IME they will learn and learn very well - I just need to not "get in his way" - I learn how he learns from him - it takes time but young children are pretty good at displaying behaviours/approaches that are normal for them - the older they get the more difficult this becomes for most because school especially often teaches them to approach learning in a way that is not in accord with their way of learning.
I do understand being afraid of failing your child but honestly I have know lots of parents who have taken the plunge despite feeling as you do and their children have benefited immensely from them doing so.
Thanks for your responses.
I guess the thing that worries me the most is how intense, full on and frustrating he is. To be a good mother to him and his sisters, I need to have space from him from time to time and as things are that just won't happen. These holidays have me pulling my hair out. He just doesn't stop.
On the social side of things, it's more a case of him being able to interact with others and work with others and respect their ideas opinions etc, at the moment he has zero ability to do this at the moment and for me that is a very important social skill.
ARC interesting about your experience in the USA, we are in limbo at the moment waiting to hear if we are going to be sent to the States for my husbands wk. If we go we will be heading to Connecticut and am a little nervous about getting the children into school over there. Will be public school for us as we couldn't afford to send them anywhere else, Husband will be getting paid in NZ $ that will then get converted into US $ so not sure how the finances are going to go. Scary times ahead.
Hi, I was in a similar situation as you, and thought about homeschooling, but honestly, I knew I would be miserable, and even though my son would love it, he needs to learn (somehow) to live in this world with everyone else! I know others will disagree...but each to their own. No-one else will make allowances for our kids in life, and I didn't think (for us) that bringing him into the sheltered environment of home would be of long term benefit (as in make him into a functioning adult!) Don't feel bad at all sending him off to school even though its pretty shitty at the moment - its what you need to refuel to cope with him for the rest of your time with him. Moving schools was the best thing we did - I guess its not an easy option when you have already done this though. I have severely lowered my expectations of my son - both academically and socially. So what if I know he is really smart but doesn't test well? Its hard to accept, but I can't change the system, just work with it as best I can. Socially, if he is not being bullied (fingers crossed not happening yet at the new school) I am trying to leave it. Of course I am still trying to teach him socially acceptable ways, but there is only so much I can do. Also re the assessment for aspergers, we are also awaiting this...hopefully you get there quicker than us! Any options of going private? Even if that involves some travel? Maybe a change to the USA might be fab! I don't know anything about education/living there, but might be a way out of this bad place!
All the best, I hope the new school year goes better than expected:)
Hoping to alleviate some of your worries, I'll share what we do. My hubby gets paid is Aussie Dollars and the banks were really squeezing us with the street rates they gave. We found a great NZ company who has been running for 16 years and deals with large and small import and export companies. They also get better rates for people selling a house in one country and transferring money to the country they are moving to and they saved us thousands that way. Now we just need them for transferring DHs wages each month. They save us money on the timing by telling us to wait a day or two or to do it straight away and we save money on the rate too. So glad we found them, and they phone us at the peak times too, don't get that from the bank.
They are based in Auckland and Melbourne and are called FOREX Commercial, (09)271 6100
Best of luck with the possible move and with your son.
Thanks anon for you reply,
Nice to know others out there understand. I am like you while he's not being bullied and happy to go to school, who am I to stop him. Amazingly he loves school, he has never asked to stay home eVen when he is sick he asks when he is able to go back. It's me that is more upset by it than him. We have a new principal so I am planning to arrange a time to meet with her and get a feel where she stands on gifted and talented. Not sure that things will change much as focus is going on getting students making national standard and when you find out that only 40% of the school in making standard in writing, I doubt my one gifted child is going to be a priority. As for changing schools, not really an option when most of the schools are zoned and closed to out of zone students, so would mean having to move.
On the side of his assessment for Aspergers etc, it has been very quick, I saw the GP at the end of Nov, had an appointment on the 8th of Jan and have been told the Psychologist will see us prob mid Feb. So can't complain about the service. I had been in touch with a private psychology practice back in maybe sept and they said that I would have to wait for someone to be free and would contact me when someone was available, yet to hear from them..
I'm amazed how many of us wonder about homeschooling and think we couldn't do it.
Basically I think if we have a child that can absorb themselves with their own interests for several hours a day, we probably can. As homeschooling really takes very little time in formal lessons, and yet more than they'd get at school. If we do our maths kids in a class of 30 for five hours a day, at most could get 2 minutes of indiviual attention a day. Alas the school day is less than 5 hours. Admin takes a good 30 minutes, Reading to children another 20 and we are already down to less than 8 minutes. So what do kids do at school, how much teacher time do they get.?
If we have ten minutes to help teach 0ne maths concept, then let them do ten twenty thoirty minutes themselves.... If we have time to help with reading or phonics, depending on levels ages, stages.... And if we discuss or share conceptual knowledge and go out and play sometimes, then possibly they are getting more learning than at school without all the stress and they can unwind and enjoy their own interests and we can enjoy them doing it. A happy contented child is much easier to parent. and to homeschool.
I have one son who doesn't stop. We looked at the failsafe diet by sue Dengate and he is still busy, but calm..... life is better.
This will be our 6th year of homeschooling. My daughter (2E) went to school for 2 1/2 yrs, and my son for 6mths. I even taught the gifted programme at the school (I'm not a teacher). However the relief that I felt when we made the decision to homeschool was immense. It took me several days of mulling over and understanding what it was I was giving up in order to do this for my children. I am an introvert as someone else on this thread mentioned - plus I was teaching 2 days a week (2 different age groups) - some of the children I had taught for 2 years or more, plus I was in the middle of a Psychology degree. And so, I had a lot to give up in order to make this work. It was absolutely the best thing to do. We have quite a few homeschooling families in our area - one who has been homeschooling longer than us (7 children - we now employ the oldest who is brilliant!) and the rest started after us. It is a fantastic community and the children don't miss out at all. Both have school and homeschool friends - we are very engaged in our local Scout Group (I've been a leader for about 4 years now I think) plus we do swimming with a homeschool group. My eldest - my daughter is due to go to High School this year and she is constantly wavering between wanting to go and not wanting to go - but we'll see. Meanwhile - as A states - homeschooling is NOT school at home. We don't do the same hours - we have no need to. After spending 2 1/2 years in the school I saw what went on each day. So much time out of the classroom and so much time doing 'busy' work. We do not work in order that the children are pushed - neither are overly academic - although both work at the same level so you could say my son (2 yrs younger) is probably ahead of his same age group. But we do more subjects - we cover history, geography, physics, chemistry, as well as the usual, English, maths etc. We don't do spelling - my daughter who is dyslexic needed a huge amount of work those couple of years she spent in school, however since then we have relaxed and she has become a reasonable speller and reader. Now that they are getting older they have learnt to be extremely self-sufficient. They can do almost all aspects of housework and can keep themselves entertained. At this point in time anyway, I can't express just how fantastic home education has been for our family.
You're not from a teaching background are you? I have to quote you ...
"If we have ten minutes to help teach 0ne maths concept, then let them do ten twenty thoirty minutes themselves.... If we have time to help with reading or phonics, depending on levels ages, stages.... And if we discuss or share conceptual knowledge"...
I'm sorry but for many of us this is just beyond our capacity - my gifted son passed my level of knowledge in maths at year 3 - as much as I would love to give up everything to teach him - I haven't the faintest idea how / or ability to do what is necessary.
I agree, I don't think I would be up to teaching my gifted child, not because he is so 'busy' or 'difficult' but because I don't think I would do him justice with my ability to teach or discuss issues to the level he would require.
Yes Im aware of Khan Academy - unfortunately I have no interest in learning alongside when it comes to maths - other subjects maybe - but my brain just doesn't work with maths and I would be doing a grave injustice to my child LOL
Nice to get your feed back. At the end of the day I am probably as at as much of a loss as the teachers teaching him in terms of how to actually to get him to do wk. We have immense trouble getting pen to paper and it drives me completely insane. Is is unable to focus for more than 5 mins. I guess once we have seen the psycologist in regard to ADHD we MIT have a few answers there.
On the other side of the coin I have 2 other children and if I was to take my son out of school the girls would prob think they should be home too, and I really wouldn't manage all 3 of them all days everyday. Particularly as I am on my own Mon - Fri and no family etc around for support.
Oh well school starts again on Monday and we shall see how things go.....
Thanks again for your comments.