Monday, December 15, 2014

Parenting Reality in the Land of Willful Ignorance.

Every so often we run into folks who just don't get what life is like at our house. They have an image of what a "gifted child" is in their head, and when our life doesn't match that image, obviously it is because none of us are gifted. I wish, fairly frequently, that our lives matched that image, but they just don't.  However, the fact that we aren't all bookworms who enjoy studying, who raise their hands first, or who don't have parties, but instead have Socratic Conversations over weekends, while engaged in high-profile careers which allow us to have a housekeeper, and incredibly flexible hours so we're mostly paid to just think...  Well, people seem to not realize that no, that's not what gifted (much less 2E!) is. At least, not by and large (I can't speak for people I don't know!).

At our house, gifted means three computers running while the television plays a video, and Spotify plays music. Half the time, there is someone either running through the house, or falling over, and the rest of the time we're all sitting down. There is no "mildly emotional" area, it's either fine or end-of-the-world.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Very Tinker-y Holiday!

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here.

I hesitate to write this post now, largely because it's still daylight hours and Mad Natter is right behind me (playing a game)... and I'm about to start talking about his Christmas gifts.  But, he's pretty preoccupied, and as long as I save the actual photo-linking until last, we'll be cool.

For the last several months, Mad Natter has wanted one thing.  Just one.  He wants to make a boost button for the car.  He wants this in the worst way, and he is terribly upset I don't have wires just sitting around the house so he can wire up a button.  He wants to make and do in the worst way!  But, I don't really have a lot around the house that works for this.  I mean, he's got sets of Snap Circuits, but really, that's just not the same thing as wiring up a boost button for the car. I mean, come on. He can make the lights light, sure, or he can make the car go turbo. No contest. And so, I started the hunt for a tinkering kit.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Same Bat-Tropes, New Bat-Stations.

It's gotten to be almost an annual event. That someone has put their foot in their mouth and something needs to be said. Last year, it was a post about "All children are gifted, every single one." This year, it seems, there are some big names going on about how giftedness is a school-based construct, and doesn't exist. I'm rapidly reaching the point where I've run out of spoons to deal with people so catastrophically closed-minded as to not even acknowledge that not all people think the same way, and so now I feel an awful lot like the bitter old lady everyone knows in their childhood, bound and determined to just be grumpy. Kind of a shame, really.

Friday, December 5, 2014


This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here.

With the holiday season heading into full swing, a lot of people do a lot of traveling, and usually we're among them.  This year, we're staying home, but that doesn't stop me from telling about my new favorite gadget - my TomTom.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shelf Elves

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here.

Now that we've rounded the corner on Thanksgiving in the US, and are heading straight into Christmas/Yuletide/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, it's time to introduce a friend of mine.  This is Gingerbread.  Okay, this is a shot from the website for Elf on the Shelf, but that's still Gingerbread. He comes to our house every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas... and behaves very oddly for an Elf on the Shelf.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hand-Made Holidays

One of the things we've taken to in the last several years has been handmade holiday gifts. Granted, a large portion of that is because we're not exactly the most well-off of families, but it's also because a lot of times the holidays are a time when we all accumulate... stuff.  The state of the toybox is usually the listed culprit, but it happens to all of us.  So what do you do?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Plan to Eat!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat
This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here.

I've been hunting for ages for a meal planning service.  I've done the FlyLady ones, I've done the Saving Dinner ones, I've done eMeals, and I've done them several times each. Each time, it's been wonderful for a few days, and then it falls apart. It's either entirely too expensive, or entirely too time consuming, not to mention there being entirely too many things we often won't eat, either because of various texture issues in the house, or because of food preferences. It got really expensive when we were paying $40+ per year, then adding in the groceries themselves, and, well, it's just far too costly. Especially considering the amount of food waste that inevitably comes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Teaching Thanks

Thinking about raising children, you think often about how they'll grow up. What kind of wonderful person they'll be, what kind of possibilities are open to them, and how much you're looking forward to seeing them grow and change and learn and do. What you don't usually consider, though, is how to teach them to be good people. I knew I wanted to raise Mad Natter to be a kind person, big hearted, generous, caring, sensitive, and strong. But what do you have to do to get there?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Appreciating because.

As we roll up on Thanksgiving, more and more thought turns to gratitude. How to teach it, how to live it. Something I said recently was that I'm learning to appreciate my father because. Not despite our clashes, not instead of being any other way, but just because. My father and I are very much the same person. He'll tell you that's bullshit. I'd have said the same until about three years ago. But, we're very much the same person. Interests, drives, passions, no. Not at all. I enjoy spending evenings watching Doctor Who. My father prefers sports games. I enjoy computers and computing, my father would love to throw his computer out the window. But, at our cores, we're the same. Impatient, demanding, temperamental, stubborn, headstrong, uncompromising, driven, focused, blunt, honest, deeply loyal, intense... the list goes on. This often causes more issue than it solves.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Resource Review: Homeschool Planet

I've had a number of years in teaching - both in classroom, and at home. Granted, not a lot of years, but still.  I'm used to having a planner.  A simple two-page spread showing each subject across all five days, so I know what I'm covering in each subject for the week. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate as well to our homeschool, where only four of our twelve subjects occur on all four of our school days. As a minor note, holy COW, we do twelve subjects in a week?!?  But, I digress.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We have ALL THE TOYS!!

Heading into the holiday season, just coming out of Mad Natter's birthday, it has rapidly become apparent that we have entirely too many toys, not enough space for them, and far too much parental nostalgia for our house.

Mad Natter is six. As a result, he gets a large number of toys for any and all gift-giving occasions. The problem inherent here is that very few people actually listen to suggestions on what to get for him, and so we have piles of games like "Connect 4" and "Star Wars Angry Birds Jenga" and "Crazy Forts" that he doesn't play with, are too big for our house, or have entirely too many pieces.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Finding Community

Sitting on the verge of pneumonia, it's pretty easy to see where community would be really handy. Someone to keep an eye on Mad Natter for a couple hours so I could sleep would have been a dream come true, but it shook out that Skeeve had to work, and our physical community... Well, either they were working too, or they were five hundred miles away wishing they could help, even though we all knew it just wasn't possible. It's one of those rare times that online community just doesn't help - about six hours before I finally fell incredibly ill, my brains started dribbling out my ears and I couldn't understand what my usually wonderfully adroit friends and comrades were saying, and worse, they couldn't understand me anymore either.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Harry Potter as a Read Aloud

We've long had a tradition of bedtime stories around here. Board books, picture books, then we moved on to Ralph S. Mouse and Mr Popper, and I'd hoped at that point to try Harry Potter.  We made it through about a page and a half before Mad Natter went all squirrelly, and he wound right up like a clockspring.  It was bad.  Very, very bad. He was capable of understanding the story, but listening to tales of people and not mice, penguins, dragons or otherwise, was just beyond him at the time.  So we set it aside. Not long ago, Mad Natter got the first three How To Train Your Dragon books, and we started reading those. But, eventually, we ran out, and we tried Harry Potter once again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Homeschooling and Timing

You know, one of the best things about homeschooling is the ability to make your own schedule, but honestly, there are a couple aspects of that idea that seem to get left behind when we talk about it.

We've had a really rough month for school. For health, really, but for school as well. I had originally planned to have school through October and the bulk of November, with a break for the week around Halloween - after all, who needs to try to have school while your first grader is hopped up on enough candy to give him diabetes within a week, right?

Monday, November 10, 2014

We Really Are All Mad Here.

The blog has been on hiatus this past week, unexpectedly, and that is part of what makes us Mad Here. The "unexpectedly" part, not the "hiatus" part.  You see, shortly after the Hoagie's hop went 'round, I learned that Mama is not invincible.

Mad Natter spent two weeks knocked on his keyster with the flu... and then a wicked cough. He's still coughing, actually, but it's not as big a thing as it was.  Anyhow, I somehow managed to navigate that minefield and came out expecting that I wasn't going to get sick.  I was so very mistaken. It took two weeks for him to get over it, then another week for my body to get the idea that my baby wasn't dying, so I didn't need to be in survival mode, and then... BOOM. I've been flat on my back for the better part of the last week, my brains attempting to leak out my ears, and any hope of blogging coherently completely gone.  However, I'm happy to say I'm back!  I might be a little touch and go as I recover a little more (and try to kick this headache out!), but I'm here! I haven't gone, I've just been epically sick.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Gifted Self-Care

This is another blog topic that's kind of laughable from me. In general, I'm just spectacularly bad at self-care. I have a million things to do, and they're going to get done if it kills me.  And sometimes I wonder if maybe that's not really the best attitude to have. Determination is all well and good, but sometimes maybe it's worth it to take some time off of tasks to just relax.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gifted versus Pushy.

In the last few days, a news article has come out of Cambridge University. Now, in having done some poking around of my own since reading it, I've learned a thing or two, namely that not even
Cambridge is capable of writing an article about gifted children without slanting it into some fashion of attack on those children who are genuinely different from the norm.

Monday, October 27, 2014

On GamerGate.

I am a gamer. Like most people I know, I enjoy the occasional tabletop RPG, I enjoy my fair share of board games, and of course computer games. Minecraft, League Of Legends, Terraria, Kingdom of Loathing, and MUCK-ing are my preferences.  But, you see, there's a dirty little secret in gaming, one that's neither little nor secret anymore.  Gaming space is inherently dangerous for women. Saying so out loud, in public, however you quantify what saying this to my limited audience as? That's even more dangerous. Happily, I'm not famous enough to actually see a lot of pushback from speaking my mind. But Felicia Day did.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Resource Review! VTech Innotab 3S

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here.

Okay, so this seems a little weird for a resource review, but hey. It's getting to be giftsy-buying season, and top of the list seems to be things like handheld quasi-educational games for kids.  VTech, and their major competitor LeapFrog, are generally top-of-the-line when it comes to these types of kiddie entertainment, so it seems a fitting subject for review, especially when thinking of younger gifted children and the durability versus usability of tablets and handhelds.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Weird Rise of Child-Free Events

I come from a large family. My nuclear family is only five, and my father's side was another eight (while I was growing up). My mother's side is now topping sixty people (it was closer to 45-50 when I was young), and the bulk of those are my cousins.  I'm used to events having a large number of children present, and wouldn't know what to do with myself if there weren't a whole herd of littles underfoot during pretty much every family event.

Recently, however, it's started becoming more and more popular for people to have events that come with the notation "adults-only," or "please leave your little ones at home." This is actually distressing, and for several reasons.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Living Authentically

As I get older, I've realized many things. Not least of them is how often I just went with the flow, changing my own likes and dislikes just to try to fit in. It didn't help, of course. I was different as a child, and no matter how hard you try to blend in, the bullies will almost always find you. Deciding to peg jeans, wear two pairs of socks, ditching Tiffany and Debbie Gibson for NKOTB, and doing my best to fly under the radar - none of it changed anything; I was still a target, and despite all my efforts, the bullying never really abated until I left compulsory education.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Resource Review: Math Mammoth

Mad Natter is, chronologically, a first grader. Our compulsory attendance laws state this is the first year he's required to actually have some kind of formal education. And yet, we're already on our second math program to date. I'm not sure whether or not we'll have a third (there's one I've heard wonderful things about, but still), but for right now, we like what we have. We started with Right Start A when Mad Natter was 4. He finished that, and half of B, in about a year.  Problem was, he spent so much time treating the manipulatives as toys that he didn't really retain the math.  Needless to say, this isn't exactly desirable in a math program. And so, after much hand-wringing, teeth-gnashing, and a little bit of panic, we moved on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Common Core Madness!

Every now and then, my personal Facebook feed gets all up in arms about the direction of American education.  In general, I tend to believe that the Common Core is not everything we're led to believe it is, but inevitably, I wind up shaking my head in disbelief, watching the arguments go by and wondering when we hit the twilight zone, because I'm on the side of the common core.  How does that happen?

Monday, October 13, 2014

First Quarter Curriculum Update!

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It's so strange to think that the first quarter of the year is already gone.  Okay, here at our house, it's been the first twelve weeks, but hey. A quarter is a quarter, however you choose to define it!  We've been through quite a bit of our curricula thus far (including running out of logic!), so it seemed like a logical time to take a step back and look at what's worked so far this year.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Resource Review: A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb, Janet L. Gore, Edward R. Amend, and Arlene R. DeVries

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here.

Most of my resource reviews, it seems, are books. This is because I am absolutely addicted to books - if I don't lose sight of it, I'll read it. Usually multiple times, and generally enough to justify buying both ebook and hardcopy.  Unsurprisingly, this is also the case with A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children, and the corollary (affiliate link) Grandparent's Guide to Gifted Children. I've put both together here as they cover very much the same things, just one with an eye toward the parents, the other the grandparents. Big duh there, I'm sure, but all the same worth noting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Gifted Poor

It's often thought that giftedness is only found in specific places: wealthy families, white families, anomalous cases in middle to lower-middle class families. Generally, no thought is given to gifted people of color, nor to gifted people of lower socioeconomic status. I shudder to think of the plight of the people of color who are also of lower socioeconomic status. Invisibility, while sometimes desirable, also comes with entirely too many problems and blockades for appropriate supports.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bravery: The boy who has it, and the mama who needs it.

I've made little to no secret of the fact that Mad Natter hates the dentist. I kind of don't blame him - he goes in, a stranger sticks their hands in his mouth, and he goes home feeling funky... and usually in pain. Who signs up for that on purpose? This week, though, Mad Natter needed to have some dental work done. He had a cavity, and wouldn't let anyone near him to clean it up - he would barely let us brush his teeth, which the dentist insisted we do, as he isn't doing a good enough job himself. But with his anxiety about the dentist, it's never as simple as a drill-and-fill.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review! The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising a Gifted Child by Sarah Herbert Robbins

I meant to get this review up ages ago, but then life happened, and NOPE. Nearly three years ago, when Mad Natter was already reading and doing basic math in preschool, and I was wondering why he was the only kid there who wasn't able to write at least a little bit of his own name, his cousin was tested and diagnosed as Gifted. WonderGirl (who is my cousin's daughter) was just like Mad Natter when she was his age, and I started to think maybe that was what was going on with my little monkey. We ran through a "Five Levels of Gifted" milestone assessment, and Mad Natter scored with an above-average IQ, even at just three years of age (the test is designed for 6+). Because this is me, I immediately hit the bookstore.  One of the first books I picked up was The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising a Gifted Child.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A "real" look at the school table

Homeschooling gifted children, especially if they're twice-exceptional, is always an interesting adventure - and one that rarely, if ever, looks like anything anyone else is doing in their homes. Even more striking is the contrast between our school table and a public school classroom. Come on in, pull up a chair in the living room, and I'll show you what I mean by the 'differences' and what it means for Mad Natter.

Gifted Advocacy

I don't often think of what I do as "advocacy." I mean, I'm a homeschooling mother, who am I advocating to? But, if you stop and think, every time I try to enroll Mad Natter in anything, or take him out during a regular school day and school hours, every time I have to deal with unsolicited advice from others about how to parent my child - each of those times I'm advocating for him.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Introducing Featured Fridays!

Over the last few weeks, I've developed a bit of a series-thing. I've been doing book reviews on Fridays, which was a great launching point. Together with the team from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, an idea that kept me in post ideas for a good long while to come has become something more.  Allow me to present, GHF Resource Reviews!  Participating bloggers from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum will be using the Resource Review flag to promote and review resources across multiple formats, from the perspective of the parent homeschooling their gifted child.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homeschooling on a Non-Traditional Scheudule

Each year, about this time, I do a post on our homeschooling schedule. I laugh, because really, this is the second year, but still. Our household runs on an unusual schedule, and it is prone to changing at any time. It's not my favorite thing, but it's worlds better than Skeeve not having a job at all, so we'll take it, and work with it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Math Facts With a Kid Who Hates Review

One of the things that is so very challenging about Mad Natter is that he is an extremely quick learner - who abjectly hates all things to do with "review."  Add in the fact that math is one of those subjects you have to master before you move along, and it gets extremely tricky very quickly.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review! How to Work and Homeschool by Pamela Price

At this point, it's like tradition!  Book/Resource Review Friday!

Today, I want to talk about How to Work and Homeschool by Pamela Price. I wasn't sure how much this really applied to me, and my life, due to the simple fact of the matter that I don't work outside the home. But, if I'm going to try to get my life set up so I "work from home" doing the housekeeping things (thus helping ensure they actually get done), maybe it would be really helpful after all...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Value of a Well-Timed Freakout.

I'm learning rather quickly that people who know me in person see a vastly different person than those who know me solely by the words I choose to use in any kind of public, permanent space. In general, I find that I tend to come off in text as authoritative, competent, certain, and blunt.  Blunt seems to be the only thing that carries over regardless of the format you know me from.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Giftedness: Why Does it Matter?

It matters.  It matters so very much.  If you'll recall, I wrote not long ago about what childhood was like for me - the broad, sweeping strokes that I remember from my past, not the little details about my mother sitting with us to eat oatmeal on winter mornings (my favorite was peaches and cream, Uncle F liked maple and brown sugar!), or my father's business trips to what was then termed "the Orient," but the Big Things.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review! If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional by Jen Merrill

Deciding to keep with last week's review, I've got another review this week! Honestly, I'm not sure how well I can review If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back, but I'm going to give it a go anyway.

The hardest part for me is truly the fact that I have no clue what the best part of it is. I picked up the book not long after its release, in ebook format. I was so excited to read it that I wasn't about to wait for it to be delivered. I got the book and devoured it, again in one sitting. It's a hazard of reading quickly as well as reading good books

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Outdoor Ed, and an Important Message

That's right: Preventing Cable Company Fuckery is up again.  Once again, we're stuck with those who have more money than sense deciding they need even more. Using that money to turn legislation in their direction. The government "by the people, for the people" has long been straying from being either. But deliberately choosing to throw those of us who access services like Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, Blogger, Google, under the bus in an effort to make more money for corporations - you're crazy if you think this cost for "hyperspeed" service won't be passed onto the consumers - is deplorable. The people in our governments, OUR REPRESENTATIVES, are choosing - actively choosing - to put corporations ahead of the best interests of their constituents.  And we need to do something. The 120 days John Oliver mentions are up, so we can't comment directly to the FCC.  But visit  Sign the petition. Make your voice heard.

And now, onto Outdoor Education!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Library!

Today, Mad Natter and I went to the library.  This isn't exactly unusual for us, but hey. It was a trip to the library all the same.  They've been a little scarce with all the traveling we've done this year.  However, this was a Very Special Trip to the library - Mad Natter got his very own library card!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Book Review! Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn't Fit Your Atypical Child by Corin Barsily Goodwin and Mika Gustavson

I am crazy excited.  I got the opportunity to review a book I've long meant to read, but for whatever reason just never got around to.  Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn't Fit Your Atypical Child has been on my TBR for... probably years. I first perked an ear May 22, 2012, when I heard Corin and Mika speak via a web conference. Mad Natter was just three and a half then, and we I had only realized he was truly gifted two months before that. I put it off then, because honestly, he's only three, and I have a Bachelor's Degree in elementary education, so it wasn't like I was truly too worried about how his schooling was going to go anyhow.  But now, I've had the opportunity to read the book, and so... I'm passing my thoughts on to you, should you be either sitting on the fence about reading it, or looking for something to read yourself.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Infographics Gone Amok.

So, there's an infographic running around right now, starting in Pinterest, and then on to a blog entry.  The titles? "How to Raise a Genius" and "Tips for Raising Smart Kids," respectively. In and of itself, I'm inclined to just ignore it and go. But putting the blog entry with the graphic just threw it over the top for me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Not Going Back To School!

Yesterday was Not Going Back To School Day here in Mooselandia, and as such, Mad Natter and I had a whole lot of things going on.  Some was planned, some was misadventure, but all in all, fun was had.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What is "Educational?"

There's a lot of hubbub going on about screen time, educational television, and how much time kids are spending in front of devices "doing nothing." In the last week or so, I've seen several posts about limiting screen time, a solid dozen asking for advice on good educational programming for children, and even more than that bemoaning how children don't go out and play anymore, all they do is sit in front of televisions vegging out.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Two sides of family.

I have a giant family.  Like, huge. No, I don't mean there are 20 people in one room for holidays, I mean there are twenty people in one room, fifteen in another, ten in a third, and five either smoking or peeing.  There are sixty some-odd people in my extended family, and we still gather as a group for The Major Holidays.  Easter. Camping. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Usually at my mother's house, as that's traditionally the largest of the lot.
(Please bear in mind that the story below may be triggering to some readers. I have, at this time, no concrete plan for going forward, though I am open to suggestion. It is not my intent to trigger anyone, so please let the reader beware: verbal abuse)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Spaceman Spiff!

Mad Natter and I recently came home from a trip to Hammie and Buppa's house. This is a six-to-eight hour trip in the car, each way. This time, we had a bonus trip, five-and-a-half-to-six hours to Upper Peninsula Michigan for our annual family camp-out.  Needless to say, we spent a LOT of time in the car this month.

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's August 25th!

"We are spreading the word to all homeschoolers to fill the social media sites with their #notbacktoschool photos on August 25th in a community effort to normalize homeschooling.

On August 25, unite with the community of homeschoolers by posting your #notbacktoschool photos in a widespread effort to normalize homeschooling, regardless of your actual start date. What will your first day look like? Will you be at the beach, the kitchen table, museum or on a road trip? Add the hashtag #notbacktoschool to all your photos."

It's Not Back To School Day on the internet! I'm very excited to share some of the highlights of our Not Back To School Day, part 1 (Part 2 will be on 9/2, when our local Mooselandia children DO go back to school!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An exploration.

As most regular visitors know by now, and as a heads-up for those who might be new here, I write in a very... present-tense, stream of consciousness style.  This entry is likely to be a bit different than others, though, as it is an exploration of self and my experience as an underground gifted child. I'm never brief enough for these things, but I'm hoping to compress this to less than a giant Wall Of Text.

photo by Sarah Klockars-Clauser
As a small child, nothing was really amiss.  I was definitely “more” than my brothers were for the same ages, but honestly, it was the seventies, and nobody was really feeling too into diagnosing whatever was up with their kids, it was more about training them to not be that way.  When I arrived in kindergarten, I was one of two children who could already read.  This wasn't any particular oddity, as I was the eldest, and there was no baseline that said four year olds shouldn't be reading. Because it was kindergarten in the early eighties, it wasn't a big deal.

Friday, August 1, 2014

But what about friends?!?

Raising a gifted child is sort of like opening a can of peanut brittle.  Is it really peanut brittle, or is it the can with the snake inside?  As I'm getting farther and farther into this glorious mess, however, I'm finding that I have the best success relating to Mad Natter when I treat him, to the best of my memory, how I would have wanted to be treated as a child.  Mercifully, as a gifted adult, my memory is incredibly long (yes, I do remember the rock The Law Mom's dog used to pee on when we were four, why do you ask?), so this isn't quite as hard as it could be.

The thing that seems to weird people out is that between Mad Natter being gifted, and his being homeschooled, people are convinced he'll never have any friends.  He's "different" by design, and therefore needs to be put into a classroom full of age-peers so he can make friends. Because without that, there would be no friendships.  Ever.  But, stop and think.  How many of your friends - can you count them? - did you meet in school?  Now, how many of those friendships were genuine, and are lasting?  Because I have maybe three people in my life now that I met at school and not outside of it.  Three.  And that's a guess, and putting a couple people in there because I'm not quite sure where I met them after all.

When I think of the people who are truly my friends: The Law Mom, Stellar Mama, AngusChick, Daizy, KD, Mrs Warde... I didn't meet any of these people in school.  I met one before, four after, and one in University.  The friendships that have had the most impact on my life are not the ones forged in the schoolroom, where I sat being the odd kid out, the "friend of last resort" or the friend of the new kid - until they found 'cooler' friends than Care.  The friendships that matter were made on my own terms, outside of forced interaction, and in the context of living my life.  These are people who have the same struggles, the same interests, the same... Almost the same sort of soul.  We get on well because we do.  We can not speak to each other for months or even years... and pick up one day as if we'd only just talked the day before.

So what kind of friendships do I want for my son?  The kind that are forced, and don't last beyond the school building?  Or the ones that really last?  The ones with people who genuinely care about you, and think of you fondly?  There is a reason that Mad Natter still has Skype chats with Girl Friday, even though she and Stellar Mama moved across the continent six months ago.  They get along. They like each other.  They miss each other, and I'm not going to encourage Mad Natter to make friends with whomever he's the same age as... and not encourage him to keep his friendship with Girl Friday - where there's a genuine connection.  Friendship has a few things in common with childbirth - you can't rush it, and something beautiful is waiting for you if you take care of it.  And I'm not going to force friendships.  It never led to anything good for me - quite the opposite - and I doubt it would lead to good things for Mad Natter either.  And so, let childhood run its course.  Let parents matter more than peers.  Let your kids find their own friends, don't force them into superficial relationships that only matter in counting how many kids are coming for a party.  Let them pick their own friends, and let them develop real friendships.

Now, mind, if your child picks up friends like mine does dirt, that's different - it's the choice of the child, and not the number of friends, that's important.  Let them move at their own speed, to their own comfort.  It will all work out in the end.