Tuesday, May 06, 2008


The Battle Begins

Oh Shit.

I believe my child is gifted.

I've had two educators ask me to consider the possibility; one who knows her in person and one who's read about her on my blog.

(There is a woman woman whose name I've forgotten -- sorry -- who talked to me when I talked to the West Coast Knitters Guild a while back. If you're still reading, would you send me those links that we talked about? I've done some research but I could use more and I'd really appreciate it. I'm thinking you're right.)

She's been having trouble in school, and more and more she reminds me of a little girl I once knew. A little girl I once was.

I was accepted into a private school in Scotland at the age of four. One of the conditions of acceptance was an interview with the headmaster. Apparently he said to me "now Janice (seemingly he didn't know my real name, which I still suspect may be Kali), I need to ask you a few questions," and I, with all the confidence of one who had never been required to colour within the lines, pulled my chair up to the edge of his desk, put my elbows on that desk, rested my chin on the heels of my hands, looked him in the eye and said "all right, what is it you need to know?"

He managed to stifle his laughter, but I was in from that point on.

And I spent years and years being "taught" how to conform, how to colour inside the lines, how to fit into the box.

I was miserable. I hated school from about a year in until the day I kicked its fetid dust off my feet after college (I only agreed to go because my parents paid my way, while I was working 28 hours a week, and because I found a two-year course that was offered in a one-year format. Apparently I've always been a little intense; I can't help it). I've taken a few courses since; I have the equivalent of an Applied Business Technology certificate and a two-year Bus. Admin diploma as well as a bunch of Humanities credits, but really ... organized education is as much of an anathema to me as is organized religion.

So now I'm facing the same with my girl. It's late and I don't have time for an essay so I'll quote directly from an email I sent my best friend tonight.

"She's been having a "sore tummy" at school for a while now. It seems to manifest itself when she has to do something she doesn't want to do. I'm seeing the counsellor on Friday to see if we can work out some strategies. She's young. I hope she's approachable.

E's been bullied a bit by some boys at school. I got all "mommy" in her teacher's face the other day, told her what was happening. She said "well, when there's that sort of teasing that stops just this side of meanness ..." and I stopped her in her tracks. I said "It's well over the other side of meanness and into assault, and the adults in charge Will. Make. It. Stop. ... Now."

I don't get all up in anyone's Kool-Aid (as the cool kids say) very often, but my child will not be abused by the kids or by the system. She isn't the same as the others. She doesn't colour in between the lines. She doesn't fit in a box.

She doesn't have to.

So far the strategies I've been offered have been ways I can make her conform, ways that SHE can change to suit the system, but I'm not buying that. They tried to make me conform and the first scars appeared on my wrists at the age of 13. Although you can see most of them if you look at the right angle, the ones that ran the length of my arm almost to my elbow are gone now and I only have one bad set that's still clearly visible (did that over 20 years ago ... 23 maybe?) and I'm going to get it covered with a tattoo one day soon, so I don't have to explain it to her. I'll tell her later if she needs to know.

I don't want her to have a matching set, so I'm stepping up now to make this right.

I didn't have parents who were willing to go to bat for who I was, they wanted me to be "acceptable" and "right" and all of that conservative stuff. I'm not that sort of parent. E shines. I used to also. It's taken me 40 years to get some of that shine back (I think it was always hiding) and I'm going to fight for her. It feels like fighting for myself.

Sure, some of what gives her a "sore tummy" is stuff she's going to have to suck up and do -- there's no escaping math (she says she likes it actually), but I'm not letting them crush the light out of her like they did with me."

And so there you have it. That's part of the reason I've been absent for a few -- we've got shit going on here.

And E and I are going to win this one. I have no limits whatsoever when it comes to my kid.

I think the School Board is about to find out about it.

Watch out; Momma's on the warpath.

God, I love you. Part of me wishes you were my mommy, and part of me hopes I'm the same kind of mommy you are. People don't understand that being "gifted" can actually mean being "cursed". Everyone expects you to be outstanding and spectacular, but within the boundaries of what is the "acceptable" norm. It's too early to tell whether my kids are just plain bright or whether they are "gifted", but already I fear for them that they will become lost in expectations and anguish as I was for a very long time.

More power to you for letting her shine. It seems she chose her momma well.
You go, Momma! I wish more parents would tread that warpath when necessary. If I ever have the need, I'll be there with my warpaint.
Not a solution to all your problems, but a wonderful week (2?) summer program that caters to high intelligence and/or children that see things at unique angles. Two of my siblings went, and it really helped them see that outside of "school" there are people in the big ol' world that also "don't fit" the "kool-aid".

Do it. Kick ass, take names. I had to fight for my kids too.....their doctor wanted to put them on rital*n because she felt my boys asked "too many questions and maybe Mom needs a rest." Nope.

With you loving, supporting and encouraging her, she'll be even brighter than ever.
Damn right. I don't have any suggestions to help, I'm afraid, the Canadian school system is not in my realm of experience, but you go girl. I am certain you'll choose the right way to go. Are there any Steiner/Waldorf or Montessori schools you could look at? Too many kids have the life sucked out of them at school - I know I did, not as bad as you, but it happened. If I ever have kids, I don't intend the same to happen to them. Hell, I'll educate them at home if I have to.
Yes, I too had parents in the 60's who didn't stick up for their kids - not good. Some scars are invisible. Fight well and strong.
Give'em hell, mama! At least E has someone to fight FOR her ... you'll get a reputation with her school, but so be it. Kids have a right to be who they are!
Good Luck on your Quest! All hail Mom Power. You're the best.
My husband spent his school years fighting those who wanted him to color between the lines too - and all he got from his parents was 'why can't you be more like your brother'? I'm amazed he's the calm, kind person he is; I'd probably still be bitter.

You're an awesome mom.
Good Luck! And if at all possible, consider finding a different school. That's what I had to do with my daughter when she was expelled from pre-school. Like you, I knew my daughter wasn't the problem (she DID NOT have ADHD)--it was the teachers who were the problem. Good thing I got her out of there!
YOU GO GIRL! For the very bright and creative folks, regular public school will suck the life force right out of a person. I'm still recovery myself. In this day and age there is no excuse from the school for not paying attention to the bright ones. (Not that there ever was an excuse). What is the purpose of coloring in the lines anyway - shear boredeom? Best - Hester
Totally agree - I think that your daughter is one bright, switched on person.

Are there any Montessori style schooling options in your neck of the woods (or is this old hat now)?

They advocate self directed learning, which tends to suit bright and creative children.

B's son over on Vancouver Island attends a school based on those principles. (I'm sure that B would be happy for you to pick his brains - if you'd like the perspective of another parent?)

Fingers crossed that it all works itself out quickly for you both,

Absolutely you and E are going to win this. I support you 100%. Hugs to you and E.
Go for it! I am eternally grateful that our present school has been a resource and a support rather than an adversary - our first school simply labelled my daughter as "bad" and "stupid" for failing to colour in the lines. I would humbly suggest that a thorough (as in hours and hours over a period of weeks) observation / evaluation /testing by a good (and I don't use that qualifier lightly!) school psychologist may enable you to explicitly define the differences, which gives you some ammunition when it comes to demanding resources and concessions.
Good luck fighting with the school board. As another "gifted" child (we're all gifted, just in different ways) I wish you and her the best.

I don't know how it is in Canada, but in the US, if it got really bad, you could pull her out of school and do homeschooling. Just a thought (although my short person won't be going to school for a while), something to research, if need be.
YES. And don't let them trick you into believing that "enrichment" programmes will keep kids from being bored in class. My enrichment class consisted of a teacher goading kids into acting out by throwing chalk brushes at her (this was in high school). I eventually got kicked out of enrichment for being too bored to do any work in law class. Duh.
Sweetie, as a teacher I tell parents all the time "You must be an advocate for your child's education, no one else will." and as a parent I say to you "Go get 'em, girl."

we have a non-conforming gifted child in our home...it is challenging and a blessing all in one. I also have a conforming gift child. I could straggle her at times for being so conforming but then see her skills and am awed.
You GO, kick all manner of arse.
I shake my head in dismay that they STILL are doing that 'you must conform' shit to kids...
I tell ya, I would've kicked all manner of arse for you... little girl Rabbitch.... I DO love her.
Been there, done that. A good psycho-educational assessment is an excellent starting point. I'd recommend Dr Georgia Tiedemann in Vancouver.

While the testing available thru the public school board is adequate, my experience has been that the "results" are skewed to what services the board is currently able to conveniently provide. An independent assessment is just that and is (again, in my practical experience) much more useful in determining the child's individual needs.

Prov of BC does a very good job (you wouldn't hear me say that very often....) in posting all rules, regs etc AND the entire education act, on its websites. Read and learn. You will get results when you go to your local school or board, armed with info (there can be a big difference between what the individual boards "may provide" and what the Act indicates they "will provide").

My children are out of the public school system now, but I had to put on my mommy-warrior hat to get both of them services. One was gifted and had no other "problems" (yes, the school system often sees giftedness as a problem); I pushed for some enrichment activities in late elementary but she was a conscientious, self-disciplined student (for the most part), and generally excelled with minimum effort. With a child like that, you DO have to be on the lookout for bullying (from some of the other kids) and the teachers-helper syndrome (lazy teachers will use bright, friendly, done-early students as TAs or errand-runners). She graduated in 2000 and is currently at university.

Youngest kid, different story. Gifted intellectually but also gifted with a learning disability, a challenging temperament, and a chronic neurological condition causing behaviour challenges. In the end he got the special classes he needed, daily bus transport to/from the elementary school offering said programme (not our neighbourhood school), and appropriate assistance thru high school. We did try a private school during part of elementary but ended up back to the public system simply because we learned that the board "will provide" the services he required. He completed high school in 2007 and is currently attending community college.

Your writing ability will serve you well, as the primary tools of this battle will be the letter and the fax.

ANY emotional outburst (anger or tears), no matter how justified, towards any school official or staff member, will work against your child and her interests. Just sayin'.

You can email me at bona underscore verba at hotmail dot com if you want more info.

Chin up. IMHO every child is a special needs child. In a perfect world, those kids who run ahead of the curriculum would get as much funding and attention as those who lag behind. In this world, you are going to fight for what you can get for your child, and provide the rest yourself.

p.s. my daughter loved her "Revenge" - thanks!
Good for you. I wish more outside-the-box kids had parents who can go to bat for them this way.
I normally lurk and I know it's probably money (which is a sucky problem) but is there a Montessori school near you? It might be something to look into if there is.

I feel for you. I had those tummy aches for years. For good or ill my mother just decided I didn't need to go 5 days a week and the school district didn't care that much back then so we spent most every Friday at the public library.

Good luck!
As a former bright kid who's parents were far more concerned with "normalcy" than with anything else, I applaud your efforts.

I am now in my mid-fifties and only recently have I begun to understand what could have been had someone really understood what was going on.

You won't see or hear me much - but I will be here, cheering you and E. on and holding the very best thoughts for you both.
You GO! I've been fighting the educational system and social expectations on behalf of my son since the first time he questioned the long-term social relevance of homework. He graduates in 4 weeks, and although he has no idea what future role he'll play in the world, I'm sure it will be interesting.
Good for you! I was that little girl, too.
Thank you for being a warpath non-conformist mom. There need to be more people like you.
I'm so glad you're not that kind of parent. You're 100% right - individually should not be stifled, it should be celebrated!
You seriously rawk.

I can't believe how many of us there are out here who went through shit like this when we were in school.
My favorite school was one that let me study at my own pace. I ended up working ahead at a shocking pace. I excelled in creativity, math, science, and language.

Then we moved, and I stubbornly refused to do any work that wasn't. My grades bottomed out, and skirted suspension for several years. I didn't have to work at school again until graduate school.

I agree with you- don't let her be smothered!
Good for you. Take no prisoners. You will, perhaps, recall my recent battle over the bus bully...

Now I will point out to you that my kid is in the "gifted" program and let's just say that I think my bunny rabbit is way smarter than the teacher. It's a major challenge to try to figure out ways to give your kid what she needs when there's so much B.S. and bureaucracy involved.

I have utter confidence in you, though.

And as far as I'm concerned, ever since I've known you, you've shone very very brightly.
Go get 'em Momma!
I'll bring cookies! Rawr!
Oh HELL yes. Go kick some ass, Rabbitch.
Go get 'em, Warrior Mama!! You are your child's best advocate. No one knows her better than you do. Follow your gut...if one of the suits tells you something that doesn't sit right, find another suit. Your child will come out on the top because of all that you strive to do for her. Rock on!!
Go, mamma, Go! I wish I'd had a mama like you seem to be when I was the different, smart kid so long ago. Most of my scars aren't visible, but they're just as real. Fighting the system can be hard, but hopefully worth it and you're showing her how much you believe in her by doing this! But you already knew that.
You go Kali!

And your shine is back honey. We see it on your blog and in your yarn and in most things you do.

Fight for the both of you. You've got all of us to back you up.
What Anonymous V said plus my own 3 cents worth. You are a strong woman and your daughter needs someone in her corner because The System would rather she not come out of it. We found things shaped up some when The Father got involved. Mothers are so frequently the ones on the front lines that they may not get well heard. When a father shows up at the meetings, it seems (sadly)that that makes administrators take notice. Especially when the language is as follows: "You are public servants paid from the public purse by my taxes. You are not providing service to this portion of the public. Should I have to withdraw my child from your school, you will lose funding for her and I will ensure that my elected reps and the media know exactly why I am doing this." We got the support we needed but it was almost a full-time job for a while. You go, Woman!!
Keep kicking ass! Wish there were more mothers who'd stand up for their exceptional kids. Wish I'd had a parent like you, too.
Oh honey do I ever hear you! As in, we could have twin t-shirts. I've got my own sets of scars - the visible yes, they are there - and a whole rack of invisible emotional keloids that tend to be unwelcome speedbumps jarring me on the road of life!

And a daughter who also reflected all of it in turn. Who didn't "fit in" and was pressured to conform to what a nice little girl should be. She couldn't do that any more than I had been able to do that.

I wish I could tell you what you're hoping - that being an affirmative and proactive mommy will do the trick. Unfortunately I don't think it will fix a broken system. I had a hugely proactive mommy who stood up for me at every turn, who fought the system, who was an activist in many ways. And I was just as proactive with my 8 year old, maybe even more because I had a supportive partner who helped in the struggle.

In the end though, I ended up pulling V out of regular school and homeschooling her. It was the only way to keep her from being squashed by the "good citizen" factory that is the North American public school system (oh hell and most of the private school system as well.) So we homeschooled and it worked out and today she is a much happier, healthier, saner woman than I ever expect to be.

Hope you find your solution. Hugs and a whole lot of empathy goin' on here.
I'm spiking the Kool-Aid around here, too, thanks to the learning-disability diagnosis and a thing called "her rights." Stay strong, dude. These things sometimes kick the snot out of you, but most of the time, no one else will stand up for your kid but you...so keep up the pressure.
Your daughter is so lucky to have a mother like you. You know that, I know. The fact that you're on her side is going to make a world of difference to her, whatever challenges you all may face in getting her the kind of treatment she deserves at school. I know that others have suggested this in other comments, but we have had amazing luck with Montessori for my (I don't know about gifted, but most definitely spirited!) girls, and I've seen how well that school has handled a group of kids who are tremendously diverse in their needs and abilities without squelching any of them. Around here, it's sometimes possible to find a public charter school that uses Montessori methods. (Alas, ours has run out of grades, and next year Older Daughter is off to a different school; I've already girded the ol' loins.) You're doing good, and you've got right on your side. Hang in there!
You go, girl. You don't need me to tell you how right you are, but I will anyway. Do whatever it takes to give that kid what's right for her. Move if you have to - depending on how your school system works that might be a more productive response than ass-kicking. Ass-kicking has its satisfaction quotient, of course, but if they Don't Get It all the ass-kicking in the world isn't going to make them Get It. Chances are you ain't gonna change the system, and obviously you ain't gonna change the child, so the solution is to find a system that works for her.

I was the different kid too, and I was lucky to have parents who viewed it all as you do and not as your parents did (I still bear scars, of course, but not from that quarter). You couldn't be more right if you tried.

Tell 'em the blog said so.
Part of me wants to go on a long, rant-y rampage, but to put it more simply...

me too.

Fight for her, for all of us whose parents couldn't or wouldn't or didn't know how.
Dear god, thank you. On behalf of her, and (as your first commentor said) in hopes that I can do the same for my girl when it comes time. She's only 5 months old, but I can already see that glimmer in her eyes...and I recognize it. And there are certain people who don't want to know what will happen if they try to put her through what I went through.
Do I wish my folks were like you! I had to do the "don't rock the boat" thing all the way through school and hated it. The kids picked on me and it was awful. figure out what you need/want and then go get it. maybe a change of schools will be needed. Go Mama!
Good for you! E is one lucky girl to have you for a Mom.
Been there, done that... A) I really don't think the light was ever crushed from you :) and that is a good thing. and B) that light and non-conformity... well it sucks when they turn 16... I'm kinda wishing I had made some different choices.

And you are so right to get into the schools face for bullying - there should be zero tolerance for that.
Oh yay for you! I was bullied in 7th grade (bad year to move to a new school). My parents told me I needed to stand up for myself more - I've decided that when you're 12 you shouldn't have to be worrying about physically defending yourself from bigger meaner kids.

However - I wish I had paid a little more attention when people had told me how to color inside the lines, and I wish the adults had been more candid about why I might decide to do that. Something along the lines of "yeah, it's dumb, but if you just go to PE and play basketball, which you hate, you won't have to take PE twice." As a totally hypothetical example.
Please, please, please do whatever it takes to get the appropriate education for your daughter. I failed in that and my wonderfully creative, intelligent, wickedly funny son is a homeless addict now.
You go get 'em! I was a constant presence at my son's schools - where he was mostly miserable - and finally put him in a county-funded self-study program. He now has a wonderful experienced and gifted teacher who appreciates his gifts and encourages him, spends an hour or two a week with her and the rest of the time working on his own, and is not only excelling in his school work but also very happy. He'll graduate next year and go on to college.
People are saying some very smart things here, so rather than reiterate all of it...I'm the now mostly-grown-up product of an enriched public school education, and I'm certain that if my parents hadn't been very vocal about my needs, I would've continued to be bullied and harassed and booored at school every day until I left prematurely. You know this, but here's another word of support to keep you going when teachers try to convince you that E isn't special, just 'restless' or 'wilfull'...fight the good fight, because your little girl deserves a better than average canadian public school education.
Go get 'em, Mama!!!
Bless you for doing this for your daughter. I wish my parents had done it for me...

I applaud every single mother out there who is determined to go to bat for their child like this. Keep fighting, the quirky kids are the coolest!
i don't know about canada, but in the states, the schools don't have to provide the "best' education for your child, just a "free, appropriate" one. i fought for years to get my gifted/ld/adhhhhd/hearing-impaired son what he needed but was thwarted. today, he's a high-iq hippie with no "credentials" beyond a ged.

50+ years ago, when i was a lot like your little girl, my parents wouldn't let me be jumped from 4th to 6th grade, the only option in small-city public school, and couldn't let me live with the aunt and uncle who would have sent me to an outstanding private big-city school because i was needed to care for younger sibs.

like other posters, i've realized only in later life how much better my life could have been if only i'd been taught properly to use my brain rather than trying to hide it and "pass" for "normal," whatever that is.

a couple of places to get background information on just how different gifted kids are from "typical" kids:



and if at all possible, get her tested with the "old" stanford binet test, because the newer tests lump all kids over 130 iq pretty much together, and there's as much difference between a 130 and a 160 kid as between a 130 and a 100 kid or a 100 and a 70 kid.

good luck!
Way to go, momma! I certainly wouldn't let my son get crushed by school bullshit either! My husband and I were both "gifted" kids, tormented by boredom and lack of challenge in school, as well as bullies.

We fight for our children because we love them so much we can't help ourselves. Your daughter is a lucky one.

There is actually a new school here in Colorado, where three teachers saw the need of the gifted students in the area. These teachers have 34 gifted students who were falling through the cracks in public school, and were not excelling in school, despite their intelligence.

I wonder if finding a tutor or teacher to help keep E occupied/interested in learning would help. I do know in my family, if the schoolwork was too easy or boring, it didn't get done, leaving no grade in the books.
Well, like you need another comment to peruse, but my stomach hurts, too. I've got a kid who is scary-smart, and a school system tangled in the Stupid No Child Left Behind Learn How to Take These Tests Act. Gah.

Fortunately, they are too late. We've already taught him to love to read. He's 8 going on 9, and reads at 11th grade level, whatever that is. So he's armed. He can learn anything he decides he needs to learn.
Is homeschooling allowed in BC? Just curious, because I have five kids at home, and the "school" portion of our day is so very small, but they have time to just 'be kids', which I don't see other kids in the public schools getting. My kids all take off on their own tangents, and seem to learn best in an "immersion" type situation, but with maths being tackled everyday, to keep skills sharp. I remember hating every minute of public school, and never having to make an effort for a passing grade, so I was lazy and undisciplined. I refuse to put my kids in a prison-like box, to be fed the "follow the herd" message, and I hope you will have all the success in the world at keeping your daughter's will to learn alive, her creativity fearless, and her self-confidence intact. I suspect there are some dumb-ass motherfuckers who have no idea what's about to come crashing their way. Strength and blessings to you, and do e-mail if you need bail money. C
Been there, done that. It's been 13 years of fighting but seeing my child grow into an amazing young woman made it worthwhile. Hang in there, it doesn't get any easier.
I did my graduate work in gifted education about a million years ago because I felt that gifted kids (especially gifted girls) deserved better than they got, which is generally MOTS (More of the same).

I wouldn't hold my breath getting much help from the schools. The prevailing attitude seems to be that the gifted do not have special needs, and therefore aren't entitled to special services.

I believe that as a parent, the more you know about your child's gifted profile the better able you are to work with them on their personal development. I really liked the material here as a resource : http://www.txgifted.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=76 especially the section on the demands of giftedness.

I'd be happy to pass on more info if you're interested. You can PM me on Ravelry.
I too wish you'd been my mother when I was being forced to conform at school, I had my first breakdown at 15 and know that I've never achieved the things that I could have done - I hope that you and E will find a way forward that enables E to develop in the way that she should, those sore tummies are horrid, I know, I had them too!
I know where you're at. Mu son has been deemed gifted, and we are just going through the process of determining his course. We are in Ontario, and our school board gives us options, describes them for us, provides people to talk to about them, and allow us to talk to the psychologist that identified him (that happens in two days). We haven't had to deal with too much bullying, and, like you, we nipped it in the bud pretty damn quickly. Our school board, teachers and administrators have been amazing, and incredibly helpful. (Strange but true).
If you want to chat more about this, I can be found on Ravelry as Curlerchik - from there, I can email you directly. We are just trying to do what's right for the kid - not just academically, but emotionally, socially and in every other way that makes him who he is.
Go, MOM!
But a word of warning, from a former "gifted" student. When I was young, I was selected for the gifted program in a large city. What this meant (after several rounds of tests, including the WISC, etc.) was that we were put into separate classes at a different school. All of the children in the class were "gifted". And we learned! Immense amounts! BUT, the time came when the bell rang, and we had to go home.

If you spend your day thinking outside the box, coloring outside the lines, and being protected from the cretins who make fun of the smart kids, you still have to face it when you get home! Most parents want a child who obeys, not a child who questions the logic in each decision you make! Children in the neighborhood will still ostracize the child whose vocabulary exceeds most of their teachers'. When you are expected to think as an adult at school, it is very difficult to become a child again at home!

The years have lent a considerable amount of perspective on this. Children need to be children. They also need acceptance from their adults and peers. And more, they have to learn to work within the framework of society! While I know that it rankles, some amount of conformity is essential! Just make sure she knows that conforming for a time is different from limiting her creativity and imagination!

I have raised a son and two daughters, all of whom were in "accelerated" classes (our local version of the Gifted and Talented programs). What I tried to do for them was to teach them the importance of working within society, while allowing them the freedom to be whatever they could imagine being at home. Two have turned out quite well, I think. The third is only 12, so the jury is still out!

I hope this little rant of mine helps you! If you want to chat about this, my e-mail is at your disposal! Much love, support and good energy being sent to you over our interwebs!
I just wanted to thank the commenter above who included this site: www.gifteddevelopment.com - I can't believe that I finally read myself described word for word. They describe in detail what I as a "gifted" adult can but also can't do. So helpful!

I went through the school-provided gifted program and it did nothing for me. But then I wasn't encouraged at home to try. Kudos to you, Rabbitch, and yes, it is an "oh shit" but also an "oh how wonderful." And because you get it, she's halfway there already.
Go, go, go Momma! Being taught to conform sucks. Sucks your soul, passion, creativity right out of you. Don't stop fighting for E.
If you can do the be at home part, online schooling is a great alternative. I also have a gifted child who still doesn't (at age 21) color inside the lines, fit in a box or conform to the "norm." He spent his last six school years attending Christa McAuliffe Academy. He had students from all over the world in his class and it was a lifesaver for him. There are many out there but here's the link (assuming it shows up) to the one he attended. http://www.cmacademy.org/
You bet she's gifted. She has a great mum :)
You GO. You are Momma, hear you roar.
My Boys were failing at school because they asked too many questions and liked to work things out in their own way, the teachers didn't like it because they didn't conform to their methods. They were both suffering badly. I ended up pulling them out of school and home educating them. I don't know how it is there, but here in the UK it's pretty easy to do. My eldest is now going on to college and doing great. Neither of my boys would be the people they are if I had left them in school. The only thing I will ever regret is putting them in school in the first place, I thought that things had moved on in education but they hadn't. Some kids just don't fit in the box. You fight for your girl.
I wish you were my mom.

No visible scars. I just used to deliberately cross the street without looking.
One of my favorite memories of my mother is of her marching down to my school to argue with the counselors about what she wanted me to have.

Four years later, I stood up and gave a speech in front of the city board of education, advocating for myself and my classmates to get better class offerings.

We both won.

You fight for her and she'll model that behavior.

[and yeah, I can related to the stomachache thing. bullies suck]
I second the recommendation for hoagies. Carolyn has links to almost everything. If you are interested in an email support group - that's what I do. Email me at kitfinn@cox.net and I'll get you connected to some other parents. And congratulations, you've got a wonderful kid - who has a wonderful mom.
ROAR! Your daughter is lucky to have a Momma who will fight for her and make things right. And maybe in doing so you can protect the you that was small and needed protection, too.

I was the same little girl in school and no one fought for me. It's heartening to see you out there slaying dragons. Hope all around.
You might be interested to read JoVE's blog at tricotomania - starting with this post maybe. http://jove.homeschooljournal.net/2006/01/19/the-curse-of-intelligent-children/
Her daughter had similar problems, was unhappy at school etc. I know JoVE as a loud, unconforming, interesting, opinionated woman with many interesting views - she's based in Ottawa. you might enjoy her writing and find it relevant.
Good luck.
Thank you. Thank you thank you THANK YOU. I cant say it enough. As a 17-year-old, one who was abused by the system and was not really challenged until now (Going through Premed- and its not hard enough), living in the US. My mother tried to fight for me and as a model for me, I stood up and fought for myself. Here I am, a HS graduate who has been to 17 schools in 3 states, been there, done that, and I have the scars on my arms that match yours. I graduated a year early, pushed myself to do MORE, just because I knew that my mom taught me to fight for my own education.

This is the best thing that you can do for your daughter. I get it, I really do. I fight for education now, as I dont qualify for financial aide, even though I live on my own and work 40 hours a week at an unnamed yarn company, and its hard. It will always be hard for her. Im sure you remember.

Jumping through these hoops to ensure that she gets treated fairly, gets the education she deserves is phenomenal. Thank you so much, for caring, for being a good mother, and for standing up when no one else will.

Btw, I would have kicked her teacher in the pants. That just is not cool. Report her to the school board? Honestly, if it is physical, then something needs to be done on the schools end too.
I see Kit Finn has already posted - I find Tagmax and Tagpdq (we homeschool) to be helpful, although Tagmax is quite high-volume. Hoagies is great too.

Another resource I really like (I volunteer for them) is Gifted Homeschooler's Forum. You don't have to homeschool to get help and advice, and there are lots of people there who have gone through things like you describe. http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/ Look around the web site, then go to "Mailing List" and consider joining the yahoo e-list.

You go, momma! I also learned early on (and continue to learn - it doesn't come easily for me) that no one knows my child as well as I do, and no one else will look out for my child if I don't!
I see Kit Finn has already posted - I find Tagmax and Tagpdq (we homeschool) to be helpful, although Tagmax is quite high-volume. Hoagies is great too.

Another resource I really like (I volunteer for them) is Gifted Homeschooler's Forum. You don't have to homeschool to get help and advice, and there are lots of people there who have gone through things like you describe. http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/ Look around the web site, then go to "Mailing List" and consider joining the yahoo e-list.

You go, momma! I also learned early on (and continue to learn - it doesn't come easily for me) that no one knows my child as well as I do, and no one else will look out for my child if I don't!
The fight for her is a fight for every child. And that teacher isn't paying enough attention. Change to a different school if you must - it may not be better but at least it might be different and be a fresh start, and sometimes that's all it takes. Homeschool if you must. All great leaders have had schooling that was considered irregular in their era.
Fight on! Our "nonconforming" gifted son and "conforming" gifted daughter (and we parents) survived US public schools--the kids are now 38 and 40. It was a bitch at times, but worth the battles. We were able to exhale after high school! I do hope times have changed a bit and wish your child finds an easier path to the happy life of her choice.

Fight on! Our "nonconforming" gifted son and semi-"conforming" gifted daughter (and we parents) survived US public schools, homeschooling not being an option. These fine human beings are now 38 and 40. It was a bitch at times, but worth every battle! We were able to exhale after high school. I wish your child an smoother path to the happy life of her desire.

I am a high school science teacher and former "gifted" kid. I have to say GO FOR IT!!!! It makes me nuts that kids below the curve are entitled to all kinds of appropriate education, but kids above the curve get nothing.

The things that helped me the most were summer and weekend programs where I met other smart kids (is there a branch of mensa in your area? THey often have low-cost children's programs.) Also, as her parent, give her lots of opportunities to pursue what she loves at the pace she wants outside of school. I'm a biologist and my summers were spent outside looking under rocks, playing in the garden, and reading biographies of scientists.

Find what she likes and make sure school doesn't ruin it for her.

Good luck!
I hope this doesn't sound like "learn to conform", because that it not how it is meant. I got through 12 years in public school by figuring out what was the absolute minimum work necessary to succeed (and being a bit of a perfectionist, succeeding in my mind was a pretty high standard), and charming my teachers into breaking the rules for me so that I didn't have to do it myself. I convinced teachers to throw out my homework scores if I got over 95% on all my tests, and convinced other teachers to take me out of class to "help" them whenever I had classes I just couldn't stand to be in. Basically I just learned to work the system (and my understanding is that I did it as early as first grade), and somehow I always knew that if I could make it out of high school with good enough grades that I would be allowed to pick a college where I could do what I wanted, and that they would take me, because they wouldn't know all the shortcuts I had taken to get there. Just a thought, because sometimes it is just easier to make it look like you are playing along while breaking rules left and right, and it sounds like your daughter might be smart enough to pull it off.
My son has some similar problems, and someone suggested Waldorf schools. I don't know if they have one in your area, or how good they are, but the descriptions are tempting...good luck to you, and I'm glad you're fighting for your daughter. I wish you both the best, and my son, too. No darn boxes! Grrrr.
Good luck! May all your swings connect with the sweet spots and your kid come out with a smile on her face and pride in her spine.
Good for you! I found your blog through Rachel's, and I'm at my desk fighting back tears.

I wish my parents had stood up for me the way you are--instead, I learned to lay low, conform, and not be noticed. Don't get me wrong, I'm still very happy with what I'm doing now, but I wonder how different my life would be if I'd been encouraged to push myself and have confidence in my abilities instead of hiding them. Learning how to shine at any age is hard, and it's tragic that the system tries so hard to squash it out of kids.

Good luck to you and your daughter. She's lucky to have you on her side.
You've got a lucky little girl. Go for it. There is nothing like an informed parent, who has been through it themselves, as an advocate. So many children get pushed around by conformist thinking.
I'm far from gifted, but I'm smart. When I was in elementary school everyone was lumped together in one giant group for every subject until you got to junior high. I got in trouble all the time, I didn't finish my work, I talked too much, I was always "sick", I cried almost every morning when I had to go to school, they actually wanted to hold me back a grade. My mom, stepped in and was like "wait a minute, she knows how to do all of this stuff, she loves math, she's been reading since she was 3, she does arts and crafts all the time" Finally they asked me why then was I having problems in school, my said I simply looked and them and said "I know all that stuff, why should I do it again, I'm bored, I'd rather talk" Eventually they tested me and a few other "trouble makers" and found out that we scored well above our classmates - we were in 1st grade and tested into 4th & 5th grade subjects. Because of my mom they formed a separate class for all of us and made it a part of the regular elementary program. So good for you, parents who care and pay attention these days seem to be few and far between.
I'm slowly catching up on my blogs and just read this post. As another Janis that didn't quite fit the mold, I wish you much luck and fortitude in your battles. This is what makes good parents and hopefully one day E can thank you for your hard work.
Absolutely! this is my first day back online. We have more in common than I had thought. I'm glad E has you for a mom. Very, glad.


charlizeen on yahoooooooo
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