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.
Continue reading “Our Crazy Normal of Twice-Exceptionality”
“What is it like to be on ADHD Medication?”, a friend asked me the day I started.
For me? It was a huge mental difference. Not a ‘high’, but a zen calm. It’s the feeling you would get after sitting down after a long hike up a mountain to visit a sub-tropical rainforest spring.But that’s only part of it. Because it’s hard to describe without also understanding what living without medication is like. Until I started, I had no idea either. I mean, I had read about the external symptoms and I’d ticked enough boxes to get myself to a specialist. But I didn’t really understand.
In fact, when I asked the specialist, in my usual worried way, “How will I know if it’s working?”, he’d smiled at me and said, “You will know.” I swear, I heard a Yoda-like cadence there, too.
One of the great joys about homeschooling is the ability to pull in different resources and the freedom to explore all the different rabbit holes of knowledge. For us, maths is not limited to what is prescribed in text-books, but is a fundamental way of seeing the world around us (hello two maths majors in the family – my kids don’t stand a chance).
Here are some of our favourite maths resources – that both teach and inspire kids to learn and understand maths. Continue reading “Homeschooling Maths Resources”
It’s been a hard month. I’m not sure I’m ready to write about it, to be honest. Looking down the barrel of an unknown illness is not exactly the most fun thing in the world. There’s been a lot of doctors scratching their heads, and blood tests.
But there has been bright spots – I am now officially 2e myself, with a confirmed ADHD diagnosis. And that bit has been wonderful (apart from the mild hiccough of prescribed medicines with a high chance of pushing me beyond the veil – hello unusual allergies!) There is an amazing relief to be found in describing difficulties and events from the past and having doctors nod their head and say, “That’s typical“.
I am now more aware of my children’s difficulties, and how to help them avoid the problems I have faced. I also know of the pitfalls ahead, which I’d thought of as personal failings – nope! Instead, typical 2e is – me. And the fear I know every parent faces, “Am I raising them right?“, now comes with a few more signposts. There is real hope. Continue reading “Homeschool; Life Update”
This is the story of a boy and a canoe.
Continue reading “The Boy and the Canoe”
Sometimes trying to find places my kids can be themselves and meet others with the same interests feels like a walk in the jungle. I set off with a map, but it’s soon useless as the twists and turns under the canopy disorient me and I’m stumbling through the semi-dark, hoping for a clearing and a brief glimpse of light. For a few moments I’ll think I’ve learned the do’s and don’ts . . . until I tumble into a new part of the jungle.
But those glimpses of light – when connections are made, friendships formed and a real meeting of minds happens? Those moments are worth every laborious step. Continue reading “Adventures in the Jungle: Finding Peers for 2e Kids”
There’s a well-meaning, but very ignorant article, by Farrah Alexander at Huffington Post floating around at the moment. And like most of these articles, it appears to be inclusive and kind. It’s not. It hurts.
Tabitha over at Simply Precocious wrote a beautiful empathetic piece on why the original article was and is hurtful. Please go and read it.
Now, I could write about why dismissing the idea of giftedness is harmful. And I have previously here.
And this isn’t the first or the last ignorant piece written by well-meaning but poorly informed people who think they’re doing everyone a favour by dissing on gifted people. You can read my previous responses here and here and here.
Instead I want to talk about why the idea that difference ‘doesn’t matter‘ is harmful. I see it all the time – “Everyone is different“, “Let you’re unique self shine!”. They’re lovely memes. Lots of fist-pumps and “Yeah! That’s awesome!”
But it’s a rare person that actually means it. Instead, a more honest meme might be:
When, all those years ago, we decided that homeschooling was the right choice for our deeply asynchronous children, I kind of hoped that this would mean an escape from age-based norms and expectations. We would be free to craft the curriculum and activities that ‘fit’ our kids without the limitations that came with the age-grade lockstep that is the traditional way schools organise learning.
Gosh was I naive.
Because, whether I like it or not, almost anything to do with children is organised based on these traditional age-grade levels. Finding places that ‘fit’ my kids and their very different needs has been like ground-hog day. Reliving the same situations over and over again, with only the surface details changing. And each time feels like another walk through extracurricular purgatory. . .
Continue reading “Living in Extracurricular Purgatory”
Whether I like it or not, I am making unconscious decisions everyday on the people I meet. Is a person listening? Are they engaged in our conversation? What are they thinking?
And I have come to realise that my answers to these questions – and the unconscious assumptions I make about people around me – have been driven more by cultural ideas about behaviour than the reality I face each day.
It’s steep learning curve to to step away from my own ingrained ideas. Particularly when I am not always consciously aware I hold them. But I work at it day by day, assumption by assumption. I’m not there yet.
Continue reading “The Smartest Person in the Room”
Starting home education can be quite daunting—doubly so if you are deciding to home educate special needs children, whether they are gifted, disabled, or both (called twice exceptional, 2e or GLD). But where to start? What’s out there to help new homeschooling families find resources and information? And what are the challenges that families might face? Continue reading “Gifted / 2e Homeschooling : Where to Start?”