I wrote 3 very long (sorry!) and candid “flashback” postings last year, detailing the process of the beginning of my family’s unique journey. This week, I re-shared those honest posts and got a TON of traffic and feedback. Thank you everyone!
Today, I looked through those entries and decided to tell the rest of the story.
So…here you go! Better grab some coffee and a muffin. (Or tea and some Milk Duds!)
This is going to take a minute.
After my two daughters took the full scale IQ tests, we FINALLY knew the reasons for our extreme home-life. My girls NEEDED to learn.
It isn’t like we never taught them stuff before. We ALWAYS read to our children. Offered workbooks in the summer, bought all of the “Little Einstein” videos and music CD’s, encouraged a “tinkering” mindset., limited time in front of the TV, etc. The problem was…the environment, the offerings, the access, the amount and the pace…It was just not enough…
As I mentioned before, over-excitabilities come with the gifted territory–even more pronounced and severe in the profoundly gifted individual. I have two of those living in my house and they experience our world in a way that is foreign and strange to me–and that will never EVER change.
How did I even start to bridge the obvious gap?
I started where most desperate parents begin–looking and searching for the “right” academic fit for my kids (specifically my youngest daughter). The psychologist who administered the full scale IQ tests suggested a visit to an unique school in Houston–a school designed to accommodate the varying and accelerated needs of gifted children.
Wasting no time, I immediately made the appointment for a tour. My youngest daughter skipped her public school kindergarten to experience one day at the gifted school. That afternoon, the head of the gifted school pulled me into his office. Of course, I felt that all-to-familiar fear that my daughter’s behavior somehow tarnished her visit.
Nope. Wrong again, hyper-vigilant mom.
I am wrong a lot.
Let me tell you, it is SUPER difficult to be the dumbest person in your own home. And… I am not just saying that so everyone messages me and tells me that I am smart, too. Nope. It is a proven fact that I fall to the bottom of the intelligence totem pole in this family. I have the scores to prove it. LOL.
Anyway, the head of school proceeded to show me a few scores from other enrolled students. By this time in my journey, I only knew a few things about the gifted world. But, I DID know enough to understand our interaction and to deduce what he was trying to explain without making it too obvious. This “gifted” school could not help my daughter.
A super quickie tutorial:
Human intelligence exists on a bell curve–yep–just like the one you wished your college professor put into place for each exam.
About 95% of the world’s population operates within the range of 70 to 130. 100 is considered an average IQ.
***Please understand that several intelligence tests only evaluate certain traits–and each test has a different score ceiling. For example, one test might not allow testers to achieve anything higher than 150. Another test might go as high as 200. So, the IQ number itself is not as important as the percentage. The percentage ceiling for any test is 99.9%. But, for simplicity, I am using this number scenario.
125 to 130 is the typical threshold for a public school gifted program. The average score accepted by Mensa is between 130 and 132–Again, it depends on which test was taken. A score in this range represents about 4% of our population and the same can be said of the opposite side of the bell curve–about 4% of our population falls beneath an IQ of 70.
As the bell curve travels further from the middle (or average), the percentages get smaller and smaller…until you reach the super far left or super far right. Once IQ range hits 145, the percentage is already hovering around .1% of the world’s population. That is a very small number of people.
My two daughters fall in that tiny .1% because they both scored in the 99.9% on a full-scale test.
So…when that man at the gifted school in Houston showed me the scores of other enrolled students, it was his not-so-obvious way to “tell” me that my daughter would not find her people at his school. She received an official acceptance into the establishment, but there were no “.1%-ers” there.
I left his office and cried the super ugly cry in my car for about an hour.
And cried on and off again for several more days.
Here is where this post gets real people. Real and honest and hard to admit…
Like allllllllllll people, I tend to form opinions about topics that I have little to no actual or direct experience or knowledge. It is a not-so-popular thing to admit, but we ALL do it. **Everyone has an opinion about the military, but the percentage of soldiers and their families in the general population is actually quite small. Do you have an opinion about teen pregnancy??? How many of you have gone through that? Everyone has an opinion about divorce…but not everyone has suffered through the devastation of a cheating spouse.
Everyone has an opinion about everything. It is just the way the human brain works.
So, along those lines…I formed an opinion about homeschooling. I had VERY LITTLE personal experience with educational options outside of the public school system. My son attended a traditional school, K-12, and I was an art teacher for 7 years–all public school background. I saw students pulled from school by angry parents and then witnessed the same (and exhausted) parents return those students several months later–usually to the determent of that child.
I lectured friends about the downsides to homeschooling. (sorry Kim!) I made faces when homeschooling was mentioned in conversations. I was not a fan. Not a supporter. No way. Nopers. Just no.
Be careful what you joke about and be SUPER careful when you form opinions about topics you have no direct, personal experience…it will come back to bite you in the self-righteous butt.
I speak from experience.
Life sure is funny sometimes, right?
Faced with no viable educational options for our youngest daughter, I started researching ‘homeschool’. (YIKES!) Watch me swallow this huge pill.
By the end of my daughter’s kindergarten year, I knew I was going to educate her at home. I contacted every homeschooling parent I knew (which was only 3 at that time!) and I asked a million silly questions–I didn’t know what I didn’t know, you know?!? 🙂
I bought books and read anything I could find on home education and parenting gifted individuals. I wanted to know about the various learning styles and differentiating curriculum. I poured over studies about academic acceleration and extreme academic acceleration–highlighting, underlining and dog-earing everything I found relevant.
If I was going to be solely responsible for educating my daughter, I wanted to do it right.
And, homeschooling offered the freedom for my daughter to pursue specialized interests–like American Sign Language and chemistry–when she was 6 years old.
My next mission was to find someone willing to teach her those things–because I knew NOTHING about those subjects. It did not take me long to realize that our “homeschool” would not take place at home. My daughter did not need ME to teach her–she needed me to become an expert researcher and fierce advocate for extreme acceleration.
My journey was just beginning.
I will write more soon, friends. 🙂
If you missed it, read about my family in these flashback postings:
Why do we homeschool? Read the top 5 reasons here!
5 surprises about my life with profoundly gifted children–read this.