Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Home Away From Home

Monkey and I have left Mooselandia and are on the road. We will be camping later this week, which should be fun, as long as Monkey's need to explore can be curbed to limits of safety.

All the same, we are now visiting family. And naturally, this means I run up against a slew of arguments that are the opposite side of "let him be a kid."  What I hear here (oh, homophones, how I love them) is that I need to put Monkey into school.  He must be around children his own age. I am doing him a disservice by not enrolling him in grade 1 in the coming fall. He will end up miserable, alone, depressed, friendless, and thoroughly lonely if I insist on keeping him to my apron strings.

A large part of this is everyone's sudden concern for Monkey's social skills. At least when people say "socializing" here, they mean socializing, and they don't confuse socialize and socialization. That's always nice. Anyway, the current proposal is that I should send Monkey to school from 9-3:30 M-F... and then actually teach him myself after school hours. So, Monkey should do the equivalent of double-shift for his education while all his newly made friends are out playing. Thus eliminating any bonuses to his making friends that school provides. However, I know Monkey. And I know what he's like when he's bored. I guarantee he will not sit quietly and do nothing while others are learning things he's known for years. He will run, jump, dance, play, shout, and generally be a kid.  This, however, is problematic in a classroom setting.

But, that's not enough. Because obviously, Monkey will be a leader! He already knows everything, he'll be the natural choice for the head of the pack. This is an antiquated idea from the era when being smart was a good thing. When we needed smart people so we could advance the space program and be the first to put a man on the moon. Nowadays? Now smart is only slightly less cool than head lice. Monkey would not be a leader. He would be ostracized. That's just how it works.

Now, if there was a chance of Monkey receiving an appropriate education in public school, I would consider sending him - and probably would be glad to do it. But as it stands, Monkey would be given no choice but to be placed in grade 1 (for clarity, Monkey is working, on average, at a grade 2 level right now.), and to languish with his age-mates until grade 4, when the district will do testing for specialized services.

But, waiting FIVE FULL YEARS for an appropriate education for my child is not acceptable. I am not choosing to homeschool my child because I want to keep him tied to me until I die. I have no interest in having my son for my best friend. None. I want him to have an appropriate education, and I want him to have it at his own pace. I don't care what I have to do to get this for him. I will make the necessary sacrifices for as long as I have to. Why? Because I am his mother - it is my job to make sacrifices to meet his needs. If my child needed special foods, not one soul would think twice of my making sacrifices to meet his needs, it's what parents DO. But Monkey has special intellectual needs, so now it's all about me, and how I must need to hold him too tightly, how I must be paranoid, how I must think he's a special snowflake... when all I want is what should be his by right: A free and appropriate public education. But, as that is not a possibility in a district that "doesn't believe in" acceleration, I have to make other arrangements. Free is no longer available, nor is public. So I can choose. He can get a free public education that meets none of his needs, or he can get a cost education at home that meets as many as possible. No brainer.

The secondary point, that nobody seems to realize they are making is that in meeting my child's needs, I'm deliberately ignoring his needs. Because I care about his mind, I'm going to be neglectful of his social needs. Of his want for friends, contemporaries, peers. While two days per week in preschool is considered sufficient, two days per week or martial arts plus skating lessons and the local homeschoolers co-op is not. Everyone insists that I am a wonderful parent, not realizing that their concern - his need for social interaction, and how it will not be met at home - is directly implying that I am not only incapable of ensuring this need is met, but also that I am deliberately choosing to ignore his needs... thus making me a terrible parent. When this is brought up, the argument is that I am taking things too personally (is there a more personal decision than how one raises their child?), and that I am reading too much into things.

I understand that everyone cares. But nobody else lives with this child, nobody else fully understands what he is capable of, and nobody else is as immersed in his life as I am. I care more about this child than anyone anywhere else ever will. Insinuating that I would choose not to meet his needs is highly offensive. And so, in order to preserve peace, I have to pretend I don't notice the bigger picture in the arguments, and I have to repeat the mantra "they argue because they care"... and try not to replace "argue" with "complain," or "belittle," or "drive me insane." And I have to let it roll off. If I don't, the hurt will eat me up, and I'll have no one. And that would be a worse travesty than almost anything else.  Anything except not meeting my child's needs.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Just Let Him Be a Kid!

"Just let him be a kid."

Astonishingly enough, this is one of the first things I hear from pretty much anyone when Monkey's activities are mentioned. I heard it all the time when he was a teeny toddler - he knew his letters, shapes and colors, and we were always on the lookout for things to do with him and for games for him to play. Then, just after his third birthday, Monkey asked me to teach him to read.

Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal. Monkey already knew his letters and their sounds, so really, it was just a matter of putting them together. I turned out to our local homeschooling group to try to get some advice and see what and where I could start. I knew I wanted to homeschool, that was something I'd planned ages and ages ago. But suddenly, there it was: "Why don't you just let him be a kid?"

I shook it off. These were strangers, some of whom followed a very different philosophy than any I ascribed to. No big deal. I planned a course of study, I figured we'd just make it work on our own. After all, we weren't the first people to ever homeschool a kid. So, out we went. I found the resources, and we started learning to read. We spent a whopping 20 minutes four days a week working on reading. He was reading CVC words before Christmas, and reading them independently before the new year. I figured that we probably ought to start a full homeschool year at that point.

See, where we live, four year olds go into Junior Kindergarten. This past academic year, our local school moved to full day kindergarten. Monkey simply wasn't ready for this. There was absolutely no way he would thrive in a full day kindergarten setting. He wasn't able to sit still, keeping quiet was a non-starter, and trying to get him to sit in a desk would be like herding cats. So, in everyone's best interest, I started up a full kindergarten program for him. We did reading and math every day. Then, we also put in science, history, logic, and French, though we eventually pulled French in favor of Handwriting. Our school days were a whopping hour and a half long, and on Tuesdays we went to the local pool to go swimming. I was really pleased with it, and everything was going well.

Naturally, that's the time that people I know and love make casual comments. Most people I know live in areas where formal schooling doesn't start until the age of 5. So we were "early" by their standards, but out came the "Why not just let him be a kid?"

Why not just let him be a kid? The answer is very simple: he's not an ordinary kid. The problem, however, is more complex. If you say "I can't, he's dragging me along by the hair!" the first thing that happens is that people try to "decode" what you mean. Instead of taking it at face value, they assume you're hothousing your preschooler. If you prove that false, then they assume you're just outright lying - after all, everyone wants to have a smart kid, so that's probably all it is.

But they're wrong. These kids are just different from other kids. While other kids would be happy playing with magnetic letters and making play-doh cutouts, these kids want to spell with the letters. They want to read, write, they want to play with clocks, chemistry, and if you'll let them, they'll explain the water cycle after watching that one episode of The Magic School Bus - once. Letting them be kids means supporting them when they want to do something new - whether it's sitting around watching My Little Pony, reading, memorizing the periodic table, or building sand castles.

People are going to make a lot of bad assumptions about these kids. Whether it's that they're not actually gifted because they can't (insert task here), that they're older than they are (thus altering expectations), or even expectations about your parenting - that you're somehow forcing your child to learn things, keeping them from actually being a kid, damaging them somehow. Depressingly, all you can do is let it roll. People aren't going to understand. Your kid is one of the top 5% of the bell curve, so the other 95% of the population isn't going to have a clue what life is like for your child. Not a clue. They aren't going to understand that you don't have "the perfect child" and that parenting them must be so easy because they're so smart they must just be compliant as well. People are going to think a lot of really odd, even nasty, things about you, about your kid, and about how you all must live.

The bonus to all this, though, is that when you talk to people who really understand? People who are also raising gifted children, or who were once gifted children?  Those people will get it. They will listen, offer support, and give good advice. It can take some time to find those people, but once you do, hold onto them tightly - they're a lifeline, and they're people who will understand when you say "Good grief - my neighbor just asked me why I can't just let him be a kid!"

Until you find those people locally, though, there are a few places to look for support - people who understand that you are letting your kid be a kid, and they are the ones driving this insanity, not you!  Here are some of my favorite resources:

  • Texas Association for Gifted and Talented hosts #gtchat on Twitter every Friday night at 7ET/6CT. This is an informal gathering of parents, teachers, and other professionals who work with gifted kids.
  • Gifted Homeschoolers Forum hosts a yahoo group for parents homeschooling their gifted children.
  • Hoagies Gifted, Supporting Gifted Learners, and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum all have great Facebook pages, where I've met a number of great parents of gifted kids.
  • Coming soon from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum; a parent support group! An informal gathering of parents of gifted children, no matter the ages, that will provide a chance to talk, vent to, help, and generally support other parents of these intense children. This one's my baby, so forgive me if I gush a little.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grief and the Young Gifted

Almost a year ago (a year in September, actually) I lost a friend of mine to a sudden heart attack. He was fine, felt a little off that morning but the doctor said he was okay, and then BAM. Gone. Because we're homeschoolers, and I'm the only SAHM I know, when I rushed out of Mooselandia for the funeral, Monkey came with me. We had a long talk on the way about Mr Dan's heart stopping working, and how no, he wasn't going to get better. We went straight from our house to the visitation, about a nine hour drive. When we got there, Monkey was confused. He looked around at the people, he looked at the pictures, and he watched his mama say goodbye to Mr Dan. He inspected everything, read the mood... and then burst into tears. He took the whole room with him.  He did it again the following day, when it was the two of us for the funeral. He wanted to give Mr Dan a flower, and keep a flower FROM Mr Dan, and give Mr Dan a flower from Aunt Kelli, and... Then he was really confused - they lowered the coffin into the cement box. He didn't understand - how was Mr Dan going to get out? So we had more talking on the way home, and he seemed to understand.
This morning, I found out that my uncle passed away last night.  He was feeling off, went to the doctor and was pronounced fine. He started vomiting, and had extreme vertigo, so he went to the hospital. He had a massive heart attack and died.  So I have to explain this to Monkey, as again we're running out the door at the drop of a hat for funerary services (very near literally - the burial is the day after tomorrow). I went ahead and started making preparations, and dealt as best as I could with my own grief (which, as usual, involved shouting, cut-short cursing, and extreme restraint from throwing things), then tried to explain to Monkey. He remembered Mr Dan, and told me he missed him, but Uncle T went to the hospital, and they make people better there.  The sweet little soul was trying his best to comfort me, knowing I was upset. So, I had to explain that sometimes the doctors and nurses can't help, and people die anyway. He looked at me and nodded, saying "like Mr Dan?" And I said, "yes, honey, like Mr Dan." He paused, then said "his heart stopped working? And they couldn't fix it?" I nodded, and he continued, "But, the rest of his body would be alive - they could get him a NEW heart." It was utter hell. Trying to explain to my sweet boy who is trying to rationalize any way he could why Mama's Uncle T couldn't be dead, while knowing his mama believed he was.

Monkey, as you may note, has an extremely good grasp of the human body. We went through the heart as a pump, and how if the pump breaks, oxygen can't make it to the cells, so the body dies. But Uncle T is out there. We don't know where, but he's not truly gone - we just can't see him in his body anymore. Monkey nodded, and after a minute turned red and said, "Mama, there's water in my eyes." So I held out my hands, and he came to me for a huge hug, and we cried together for a while.

He could feel this enormous grief for a man he didn't know well. He felt all this compassion for me. He had such an extraordinary grasp of what was happening, and what he felt he could do, but he wanted to fix it. He is determined that when he grows up, people's hearts won't stop working like that anymore.

Going into this parenting gig, I was not at all prepared for a four year old who could understand the nature of death, and then immediately come to a conclusion as to how to stop it. Who could care so much about everyone, even though he's barely older than a baby. This child surprises me at every turn - he is clever, bright, capable, thoughtful, kind, compassionate, sensitive and intense, and no matter what kinds of trouble that brings, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Near and Dear

This week's evening #gtchat was on a topic near and dear to my heart: Manifestations of Giftedness in Young Children.  You see, I have a huge problem. Left to my own devices, I arrive at the conclusion that Monkey - in fact, our whole family - is perfectly normal. Nothing unusual about any of us. The fact of the matter is that we are not normal. Not in any way, actually, but the point still remains. We all read before kindergarten, we all were adept with letters and numbers, we all learned to do things faster than our peers. But, without chats like last night's, I still default to thinking there is something "wrong" with Monkey, and not simply something unusual. 

You see, Monkey has had all the classic hallmarks of a gifted child, even from within hours of his birth. Hammie (his grandmother) commented that she was worried something was wrong - when she first held him, he looked right at her, as if he were taking her measure. I didn't know this wasn't something hours old infants usually do. He also said his first three words at 9mo, and then didn't speak again until he came out with full and complex sentences at about 14 months.  I thought the large delay meant troubles, not that he was parsing grammar.  He, at four, often tells people and things about how disappointed he is, or how excited, or how terrific something is, or wonderful, and even uses "I think you may be mistaken" on occasion. He loved letters from the moment we exposed him to them, and he learned his letter names before he was two, and their sounds only shortly thereafter. I'd loosely begun teaching him to read, but he didn't care. Just after his third birthday, he asked me to teach him to read. I think that was October of 11. He was reading CVC words by November, and was able to sound them out himself, and move on to much more complicated words by the time he was 3.5. Now, he's reading at an approximately 6yo level, and I still wonder if maybe I'm mistaken, and he's not really gifted, but that I've just given him too much credit all around. 

I'm not entirely sure what to do with myself. I know that a child working near-universally on a first grade+ level should be 6 and not 4. I know that a child working at a middle of 1st grade level should be nearing seven, and not five. But then I wonder if maybe I'm guessing wrong. I know where he is, and I know what he's doing, isn't that enough? But then the rest of the thoughts come crashing in. Of course it's not enough. It's a wonderful start, but these are things I need to know in order to make the best educational decisions for him. Then we factor in that Mooselandia schools are generally assessed to be more lazziez-faire in the early primary grades than American schools, and it occurs to me that he may be farther ahead of his peers than I thought. Which is, in and of itself, a useless thing to know. But knowing it in the context of knowing that our local school district "doesn't believe in" acceleration makes a huge difference. I can't put him into the regular public school. He is already functioning as if he were a second grader there. Worse, the district doesn't assess for giftedness until grade 4. So Monkey would go into senior kindergarten (K5) this fall... and know the entirety of the curricula planned for K-2. By the time he got to grade 2, he would likely already know the things planned for 3-5, and when they assessed him in grade 4, he would be operating at a grade seven-ish level... if I didn't lose him long before then due to sheer boredom. 

Looking to see if you have a gifted child isn't hard. It's not even hard to say "yep, my kid is gifted" (as long as your audience is receptive, which is a whole other ball of wax). What's hard is what that means. The implications of that realization. The impostor syndrome that inevitably pokes in to second guess everything. How you relate to family, friends, strangers - and how they suddenly think everything is bragging, whether you're simply proud of your child, or making a factual statement.  The signs are there, from as early as the day of birth. They aren't hard to see. It's accepting them, and what they mean, that is the challenge.

Do you think you may have a young gifted child on your hands? Here are some resources to take a look at and check it out:


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Review!

So a friend of mine () over at Sceleratus Classical Academy recently posted a review of ABC Reading Eggs, and it occurred to me that I ought to do the same - we have similar boys, in that both her Early Bird and my Monkey are about the same age, and working at about the same level, but the boys have vastly different styles and needs, so it seemed appropriate.

Reading Eggs seems, on the surface, to be another entry in the field of "edutainment." The notion that this program fits the "educational elements added to make a game seem more valuable to parents" bill, however, is silly.  The format is simple: a lesson is presented, then games are played to reinforce that lesson. We have been using it not as a supplement, precisely, but as our primary means of reading instruction. 

The system is phonics based, which I love, but it has a component of whole word instruction, which Monkey loves. Monkey has an incredible sense of recall, which means his preference is for whole language instruction. My preference is for phonics, and I have little idea of how to teach whole language, so we have a bit of an impasse. Reading Eggs bridges this gap exceedingly well, which is why it is our primary format.

More about the program:

This is an Australian-based program, so most of the voice overs are accented to our Mooselandic ears. This also means that some slang is different - chips are fries, a clothespin is a clothes peg, a cabinet is a cupboard, and other British-seeming changes.  As we have several British friends, and are a mixed-nationality family ourselves, we already see American, Canadian, and British English on a daily basis. This makes the differences no big deal to us, and I often don't notice them - and neither does Monkey.

There are a large number of positives to this program, most of which will be covered below. However, I'll start here; at the Parent Dashboard.

The dashboard is parent friendly. I like that it not only gives me an average age-equivalent, but it also tells me the progress he's making - how many phonemes he knows, sight words, and what he's been doing lesson-wise. While it doesn't include the actual games - the "arcade" or edutainment section of the program - it gives me all the relevant educational data, which lets me keep track of his progress versus how I expect him to progress. It also gave me the option to test Monkey to see where to start him in the program, or to start him at the beginning. Much like theYoungerMrsWarde's Early Bird, Monkey went through the 15 question test easily, missing one question, and starting at the beginning of map 8 - lesson 71. The issue Monkey had with the test was simply his innate desire to click on everything in sight without waiting for the question to finish. So, I simply had him sit on my lap and point to his answers with a finger, and I did the clicking rather than him. Problem solved.

The Map:
The map is how the child goes from one lesson to the next.  All the completed lessons are in pink, the ones upcoming are in green. You can go back and redo any lesson you've already completed, but you must complete your current lesson to move on.  Each lesson 'hatches' a critter from an egg. All the critters are displayed on the map by the lesson that they came from.

Lesson Part 1:
This is the introduction to the lesson. In this group (lesson 94), the long /a/ and silent e combination are being introduced. The first piece of the lesson was to click on the ape, which was the gorilla with a 'p' on him. The gorilla jumps between the a and the e, and now we have ape. The program calls out a combination, and the c child clicks the corresponding letter(s) - so "let's make cape!" the child clicks on 'c', and the program responds, "yes, /c/ and /ape/ make cape!" If the child picks the wrong option, the two incorrect options disappear, and the program says "no, it's this one." and then waits for the child to click the correct answer. It is learning by repetition, and this particular lesson goes through ame, ape, ave, and ane.

Word Families:

Word Families is the second piece of this lesson. The child is given the final letters of the word, and has to choose which initial sound belongs with the picture. Now, in this go around, the letter 'd' is unused. The only issue I have with this game is that it doesn't ask for any accuracy. This hasn't been a problem for us, but it might be for others - the child can guess each box in turn and the only consequence is that it takes more time. 


Snowman, while also not requiring accuracy, does require some measure of it in order to progress. The point is to choose the appropriate word from the falling snowflakes and drag it to the snowman. If you choose a wrong word, nothing happens, but you cannot continue until you've chosen the right word enough times. In this case, the object is to choose pour, then icing, then cake. Once that's done, the child can move on to the next game.

This came requires some accuracy. If the child gets too many wrong, the game is over, and they have to start again. In this game, the child is to take the end of the word, and choose the lane that matches - so in the pictured example, the child needs to match 'rave' to 'ave' in order to succeed.  This is a more difficult game for Monkey, as he has a hard time listening for ending sounds. The reinforcement of this skill is a great thing.

Look, Listen, and Spell:
This game is another that needs some measure of accuracy, but not much. As seen, a picture is given, as is the alphabet. The task is for the child to correctly spell the word. They choose each letter in turn, and are rewarded for a correct choice with the green check mark. If they choose incorrectly, nothing happens, and they can't move to the next letter. This is helpful, as it reinforces the notion that the order of letters in words is important. Monkey is fairly good at this game, and while he doesn't love it, he is more than willing to continue to play in order to move ahead.

Dragon Fire:
Monkey really likes this game. He will go through almost anything else in order to play this game. The game is fairly simple. The dragon flies around, breathes fire, and when the fire dissipates, there is a word left behind. The game reads the word, then the child is to choose the cake that matches. If they choose correctly, a candle on the cake is lit. If not, they lose one of their five 'lives' and the game continues. These are words with difficult rules, compound words, or words that are otherwise seen as much more challenging for the kids, which leaves Monkey feeling like he's done something very difficult.

Bird Words:
 Bird words is fairly simple. The program reads the sentence aloud, then asks the child to read it (while highlighting each bird in turn) slowly, and then the birds descend and mix up. The child's task is to sort the words out and put the birds back on the wall in the correct order. If the wrong word is chosen, the bird flutters back to the grass. Monkey has done this many times, and enjoys it, even if he repeats the sentence back much faster than the program expects. He has also done as many as seven birds at a time, I'm not sure if any lessons have more birds than that.

 Pack the Shelves:
 This game is a new one for Monkey, he hasn't played it much before. The object is to pick out which word makes sense in the sentence. However, the sentence isn't read aloud - the three words at the bottom are, but the child has to read the sentence, then work out which word to put there. This is a significantly harder game, and I enjoy watching Monkey play it. He catches on quickly, and moves through the challenges easily, but at least he's paid enough attention to understand what he's doing and how to solve the problem.

Read Aloud:
 This, with the exception of the actual hatching animation, is Monkey's favorite part of the lessons. Reading Eggs uses storybooks to reinforce the reading lesson. At the end of the lesson, the book will be read aloud to the child, at the child's pace, unless the child turns the sound off.  Monkey particularly enjoys this, and is often glad to see it. He also is able to complete specific tasks based on the book, regardless of when it was last read, which I suspect has a good deal to do with his retention and favoring of whole words.

At the end of a group of ten lessons, the child takes a 15 question quiz on the previous ten lessons. If they get 12 or more right, they move on. If not, they are asked to replay the lessons and try again. The number of errors in the final quiz determines the "ribbon" the child gets for their quiz, and once the quiz is completed, not only does the child advance to the next map, but Reading Eggs sends an email to the parent letting them know what was covered, what the child's score was, and that they're ready to move on or need more practice.

All in all, while I can see why this wouldn't be a format a lot of people would use as their primary instruction, Monkey's recall and his solid base in phonics means that this is an ideal solution for him. He is able to sound out words, and he is able to use his whole word approach whenever he can, which makes reading not a chore for him - and since both The Ordinary Parent's Guide To Teaching Reading and BOB Books were a chore, and Hooked on Phonics offered little to no interaction... This turned out to be a wonderful solution. We paid approximately $85 for the full year of the program, which was well worth it. If we had more than one child, however, using this might be outside of our budget.  End result, however, is that Monkey loves Reading Eggs, I appreciate that he's learning, and I don't have to hound him about it, and he really does learn. I would, and have, recommended it often.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Local Issues, and a Reminder

So, here in Mooselandia, where Monkey, Skeeve and I make our home, there is very little regulation around homeschooling. The basics are that anyone who may be expecting your child at their school or in their seats needs to be formally notified in writing, and you must actually educate your child.  There are, of course, subregulations around this, setting up what expectations are, and which agencies are to be part of which investigations and when. There are also several local groups dedicated to the protection and information of the homeschooling parent.  This past month, however, a homeschooling (or home-school, as she puts it) mother from another town in another county two and a half hours from here has decided this isn't good enough. She (and her nebulous board of directors, though they remain unnamed) aims, according to her website, to "We are safe-guarding the home-school industry by maintaining a desired level of quality; one way is by ensuring all home-school children in Ontario receive adequate instruction in reading, writing and mathematics with assistance from the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)."  Now, on the surface, I would agree with this. All children deserve a decent education, no matter who is providing it. But the involvement of the EQAO, who also serves the public school system, which many people find to be failing recently, homeschoolers or otherwise, presents a problem. This continues on to focus on testing for homeschooled children in grades 3, 6, 9, and 10, and making it mandatory.  The issue with this is very simply that the testing is not mandatory for publicly schooled children, why would it be for homeschoolers?  The website then goes on to present specific curricula as "good" options, with no vetting or testimony attached, and the general feel of the site is that the designer or group is seeking to be an independent third party, intending to force significantly more regulation on homeschoolers in the province. Now, don't misunderstand me. I believe that all children deserve an education. I believe that all children should be taught art, science, physical education, math, reading, writing, English language arts... the list goes on. However, my insistence that only a specific kind of anything be taught takes away from the freedoms of other families to teach what they truly believe is imperative to their children's education and well-being. As I don't want anyone stepping on MY toes, or on those of my family, I'm not in the business of stepping on anyone else's.  This is, on the whole, a very bad idea. This reads as a set-up for requiring government/board approval of the curricula being used (which typically leads to a list set by the government, and nothing that isn't included on the list is considered acceptable),  in exchange for a tax break. This is not a trade I'm willing to make, despite the fact that our homeschool curricula costs are entirely out of pocket at this time, and one of our government sponsored program funding checks will be ceasing effective on Monkey's sixth birthday. So, it's not that we're wealthy, and don't care. These things could make a big difference, but I still don't feel it's worth the imposition.  

Once we get past that part, the attitude of the people behind the initiative comes into play. Many people have been stopping by their Facebook site looking to ask questions about what this entails, and how it would play out in the grand scheme of things, despite the vast majority being happy with how things are now. The general response from the page's administrators has been that people are being argumentative, questioning credentials, and are harassing the administrators. In truth, people who are passionate about their homeschooling are defending their right to teach their children without the government watching every single step of the way, and are rightfully leery about this brand new group on the scene. Matters are even less helped when the administrators are responding to questions by requesting personal telephone numbers to "enlighten" the questioners.  Yes, they used the term "enlighten" in their response, thus implying that anyone disagreeing with their stance is inherently uneducated, and requires their help to see the light, as it were.

This presents a secondary problem for our house. Monkey operates on several grade levels at once. Depending on the subject, he could be found working on level (handwriting and art), above level (logic, math, history), or significantly above level (reading, science).  If I were to have to classify him as one grade level, I would do it at the lowest - he would be starting Senior Kindergarten this fall, as his age dictates. However, if this were formalized, it would be entirely probable that the government required curriculum would then require he be instructed at Kindergarten across the board. As he's operating in grades 1-3 in his better subjects already (before the start of SK), this would be catastrophic at best for our house, and lead to our purchasing not only the government approved curricula, but also the curricula we would have purchased in the first place.  Further, there would still be no coverage for his exceptionalities, nor would we be able to have his testing done with qualified testers while still being entirely covered by the umbrella of the home/public school system. This is, inherently, a loss for our family, and for many others as well, regardless of the individual situations they find themselves in.

Thank you for 'listening' to my thinking this out, to my organizing my thoughts, and to my general discomfort around this entire idea. I know I can be extremely wordy, so if you made it this far, I applaud you!

Now, onto the reminder!

Announcing the 2013 Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour, June 14th - June 21st.
As the primary update-writer here at Homeschooling Hatters,  I am very excited to be participating in the Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour 2013 from June 14th-21st.
This international blog tour is organized by parents who met on The Well Trained Mind Message boards.
We come from different parts of the world, different school choices, and different social and economic backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common. We know that parenting a gifted child can sometimes be as challenging as it is rewarding. If you have ever woken up at 3 AM in the morning wondering What am I going to do with this child?” then this blog tour is for you!

From June 14th-21st the Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour will discuss some of the most pertinent issues facing gifted education today: