Outliers. Sometimes, I forget that may kids are way out there at the margins.
It’s so easy for me to forget what ‘normal’ looks like, or to forget the assumptions usually made about the innate range of abilities of most children.
In my friend-circles, I clap, cheer and cry when other families have their child engaging in conversation for the first time after months of therapy, or get excited when another family talk about the crazy conversation they had with their primary-schooler on infinity and prime numbers.
My crazy-normal has become very . . . skewed.
For instance, I have always thought that both my kids were very good at maths. That’s not a brag – that’s a cry in the dark. I’m good at maths – and I unfortunately have the medal to prove it when I’m worrying late at night, as I do, about whether I will be able to keep up. Sometimes it’s easy to soothe myself. Mostly, I stare into the abyss of self-doubt. (And thank goodness for Mr. Gelston, who keeps us all grounded and helps my son learn how to show what he knows.)
My boy is already pushing the boundaries of my own knowledge, at least in a few areas – he has become obsessed with the one area of maths that I never studied beyond the basics, but I had been telling myself that my daughter was just like me – only a little advanced.
Do you hear that laughter? That’s the laugh of silly expectations. Just like I used to figure it would be years before I had to worry about keeping up with my boy.
You see, I made the mistake of looking up what was on the local school curriculum, and that brought me thumping back to reality. No, I couldn’t put my well-she’s-only-a-little-advanced girl in school ‘for a break’, as according to their metrics, she’s already radically accelerated. Hell, she only officially started homeschooling a few months ago.
Just reading through it, and realising that both my kids are in multiple crazy different age levels based not just on subject, but sub-sets of each subject is officially my wake-up call. And just for the ‘what does crazy-different’ mean record? We’re talking a tertiary to primary-school spread for my son. And my ‘she’s-not-that-advanced’ daughter? Preschool to grade three minimum – with some subsets going much higher.
It is, in good measure both amazing and terrifying. I am both the mum wondering if my children will ever be able to tie their own shoes, and the mum worrying about how the heck am I going to navigate chaperoning kids through tertiary education.
I am ecstatic when my kids remember to use their hard-earned conversation skills, or look before racing onto incoming traffic, and I am in awe when my little girl shows me how she now intuitively understands that 281 is “Only 19 away from 300!”, or seems to have leaped from multi-digit addition to just intuitively understanding multiplication. But I’m still struggling with teaching her how to read (something I have never had to do before – osmosis seemed how it worked for my son).
It’s all steam-ahead on the crazy homeschool boat, because this bugger has no reverse gear. Our normal is a backwards, crazy world where pedagogy took a good look and then turned and dived off a cliff.
I am once again homeschooling into the unknown, and I’m hoping I’m moving it all in the right direction.
This post is part of the GHF Blog Hop – Gifted and Twice-Exceptional: Revisiting 2E Issues. Go check out the posts on the crazy-normal experiences of gifted and 2E families.