Our oldest son was 4 when we first had him evaluated at the Gifted Development Center in Denver. With the incredibly detailed report (full of new terms like twice-exceptional, sensory processing disorder, and vision therapy) in hand, I dove into researching just what we had living in our house. Those were the dark ages, long before blogs and Facebook made connecting with others easy. Dr. Google sent me to email lists, and I joined as many as I could.

Learning about giftedness from email lists full of experienced and wise parents has both a good and bad element. You’re gonna learn a lot, but it’s a bit like drinking from a fire hose and you’re likely to be scared to death. “I have what to look forward to???” (In all honesty, I still run into that: the best SENG session I attended last month scared me worse than any horror flick…2e + looming adolescence = I no longer sleep)  Lurking on those lists taught me a lot, and education was at the top of the list.

The topic I saw most often was how parents educated their kids. It was never “place child in public school, let simmer for 12 years, graduate, enjoy the fruits of your labors.” It was more like…

Hat-tip Bill Keane

Public school, private school, homeschool, part-time school, independent study, concurrent enrollment high school and college, online education (in its infancy then), private tutors, afterschooling…sometimes one right after another, or within a year. I thought certainly they were exaggerating. That many educational changes? That often? A kid could be that…complex?

Ohhhh…Jen of seven years ago, how you have grown. Now you have The Most Complex Child on the Planet™ and are playing the Education Tango. To date my 2e son, now 11, has been in three elementary schools in two states and is now homeschooled, with heavy doses of afterschooling and tutoring stuck in there as well. Right now the plan is to homeschool as long as necessary (he thinks forever, I’m praying for a high school start date in three years), but at least we have the options. His younger brother? Public school, third grade, thriving. We used the same ingredients and recipe to make these two, they are so very different, the mind boggles.

It’s back to school time. The form school takes? Well, that’s a different story.


Jen writes over at Laughing at Chaos, and is the author of If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional, recently published by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Press.


6 thoughts on “That crazy educational path

  1. Our girls are totally different as well. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how they turn out certainly, but I can see both me and my wife in each of them, just not always the parts I’d pick & choose. 😉 We’ve waffled on homeschooling a LOT, especially with the oldest as she enters 3rd grade, but after meeting the teacher yesterday, I’m optimistic. Good luck with your educational path, it’s never the one you plan certainly. 🙂

  2. Being there, done that. This year my two oldest are doing Stanford University Online High School, and are so excited about it. My youngest one, skipped a grade and doing 3rd grade in an online public school, after being in two different elementary schools, public for kinder, charter for first grade. Tired of dealing with teachers to accelerate him.

  3. My story is very much the same as yours. Two private schools over 4 years, homeschool/tutoring/online education for 3 years, ‘alternative’ private elementary school for 2 years and now a progressive middle school. The last two schools were for gifted/thinking non-conformist types, that except children along with all of their innate uniqueness (even the MOST unique!) Thank goodness that is working for NOW (because I KNOW not to count chickens when it comes to education for this child!)

    My younger children are from the same gene pool & environment but no extraordinary means are needed to let them thrive, I could put them just about anywhere and they would be absolutely fine, a la “put them in school and then sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labour types”.

  4. I have also searched, joined groups and read up on the many variations of what giftedness is. Even one of the facebook groups I was a part of didn’t agree about what it really meant. My husband and I discussed and realized that defining giftedness is like determining how heavy a rock is. It is not the same for everyone. While a rock is measurable, like intelligence, creativity, athleticism -for those that believe that is part of giftedness and not just talent, are measurable, the perspective of the weight varies depending on the perspective of the person holding the very same rock. Just like what constitutes giftedness varies depending on the perspective of the person defining it. Which doesn’t make the situation of understanding easier. I think the only (mostly) agreeable part of the definition of giftedness is that it is when a child/person shows high intelligence AND an ability that is above and beyond the majority of the population.

    It sounded a lot better the way my husband described it 😉

  5. Wow, Love the illustration! You all are going to do fine. My Eldest starts college in about 2 weeks- big growth spurt of activity :D. My boys start P.S. the same day as she starts college. They are all so different its exhausting! Hang in there were all pullin’ for you!

  6. Thank you for reminding us we’re not alone… or crazy (not completely, anyway). As The First one turned the corner this morning with tears streaming down her face to get on the train to plane that will take her to college in New England, the feeling of satisfaction kept my own tears away for a while…

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