So I am minding my own business, I stopped into a small shop to purchase a Christmas gift. In the course of making my purchase, I mentioned I needed the item for my young son who creates stop animation movies. After fielding a couple questions about how does he have the time for such projects, I explained we homeschool.
- and there it is -
It is almost impossible to leave the house, meet strangers and not talk about homeschooling. Well, it's impossible for me. Within a few minutes we meet the fork in the road and I wonder where this is going.
A) information, support, and interest or B) antagonism, doubt and probing
C) rarely happens and in this scenario its a Y not a W but for the record, utter disdain is not unheard of in the way of responses
This gal was all about A. She asked questions, and questions, upon questions. I was there talking with her for 45 minutes. We exchanged emails, numbers.
Her son, 8 yrs old, following the traumatic divorce and departure of his father has developed "ticks"and he has been diagnosed with ADD. The pain and concern on this mothers face was so obvious. Her little guy has low self esteem, thinks he is stupid, fat, ugly, a bad kid. Her supportive words ring hollow in the few hours she has with him after a long day of school.
In school he is continually reprimanded for fiddling, moving, not sitting still, getting up and down. He is often segregated away from the class, to the other side of the room so he can concentrate better. He is teased for having a teachers aid help him and for his ticks. He thinks he is stupid.
Thankfully, I carry my soapbox in my purse! I whipped it out, climbed on it and started to make repairs. In situations like these, both the child and the mother feel hopeless, frustrated and like failures. LIES!!!
Several issues set me off - and this is one of them. Her boy, is a genius. Truly a GENIUS!
School rewards quiet children who sit still and don't require much discipline. School values children who can memorize and regurgitate. How impressed they are when a child can rattle off Presidents in order, states and capitals, or multiplication facts. These are gifts - of course. But it's also a gift to understand how things work, why things work, or to have the kind of brain that thinks about those questions.
It's more impressive to have a child stand up straight and tall and recite something, but if it comes quite naturally it's not really a skill they worked to hone. What if each child's gifts were treasured and explored? What if every child was encouraged to unleash their brains? Look out China.
No, instead we have a system that tethers children to desks where they are only allowed to learn in baby food bites, no faster than the fastest, no slower than the slowest and only what is in the lesson plan.
I told this young mother her boy is a genius. His brain works in ways his teachers couldn't possibly understand. That if she will make it her mission to learn how his brain is wired he will achieve greatness! I told her about Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and other terrible "students." I told her ADD is a fabulous thing! Sitting still is totally overrated! and this incredibly complex skill of keeping your butt cheeks on a flat surface can be mastered down the road when you are not a busy 8 yr. old boy.
I wrote down must read books by Mel Levine - A Mind at a Time, Myth of Laziness. I told her about Positive Discipline, and Frank Lawless books on ADD/ADHD. I promised to pray for her and her son, and if she needs anything to call me.
In the car I fought back tears. I remember when Corey's pudgy Kindergarten guidance counselor tried pulling this alphabet soup game on me. NOT happening!
Everyone one of my kids would be slapped with labels faster than you can say Kentucky Fried Chicken is finger lickin' good, if they were in school. Me, I'd be the mom the teachers dread, the principal knows on a first name basis and the kids love when I volunteered in class.
We opted out of a system which couldn't begin to foster the genius that IS in my children, gifts from God, purposes greater than they could dream, talents to be constantly discovered and developed. God created them. They are perfect.
Those kids with the extra letters, that's because their brains are so amazing - the grown ups can't figure them out. Genius in ADD, genius. Decode how your child learns and then stand back - because God is about to show what he can do.
PS. I am equally passionate about politics, my faith, and why Titanic is the worst movie ever made.