ADD = genius + sobbing

I know a lot my stories begin this way, but it's TRUE!

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 -

The fork. 

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.

Blessings,
Robin

PS. I am equally passionate about politics, my faith, and why Titanic is the worst movie ever made.

3 comments:

  1. AWESOME POST!

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  2. Robin,
    RIGHT ON SISTER! I too have felt the stigma involved when you have a a child who goodness forbids thinks outside the box. When my boys were in public school both of them had such a difficult time doing the simplest of tasks. Not because they couldn't do them, they just were not able to do them in the manner the teacher's wanted them to. My middle boy was especially hurt by the "system". He was ridiculed and picked on for being "different" and his teacher's labeled him a "disruptive" and "special needs" child. Due to that label Kenny was literally treated like a pariah and given "special" rules that were only for him. Again signaling to the "normal" kids that Kenny was different. I yanked my poor, low self esteemed, depressed 8 YEAR OLD CHILD out of that environment so fast it WAS literally a blur. I am very dedicated to not ever sending this particular child back to public school. In the year since bringing Kenny home, he no longer feels he's a loser. He's so darn smart its scary for mom! I think even on our worst home school day's where very little "book" learning takes place is better than the best day he ever had at public school. I've seen my boy go from a depressed, frustrated child to a happy, confident child who LOVES to learn! My other two son's are doing just as well, at home too! We are a much closer and happier family. I too have had so many conversations with total strangers who want to know about our home school journey. Most people think they can't do it, until someone who does it tells them they can. No matter your situation you CAN home school if it is what you truly feel called to do. That is the message I try so hard to tell people. We as parents MUST save our precious children from a system set up to teach the masses, not the individual, unique being that our Father in Heaven gave to us to raise for Him.

    Rachal

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  3. I remember very well the baby steps of homeschooling you and I took together. Homeschool did wonders for my children, whether they all remember some of the things we did or not. Sarah finished high school and chose to follow a life as a loving wife and mother, Jessica finished in the top 10% of her class and is now attending a top University and Kelly is also doing remarkably well also in the top 10% of her class. yes, I did return my girls to public school, but only after I felt they were ready and could stand tall and proud and confident on their own. They are all leaders and speak out when others won't. They respect and talk intelligently to adults and have compassion and patience for those younger then themselves. Do I take credit for any of these things? No!! I am merely thankful for the opportunity God gave me to help raise these girls and be there to witness the remarkable women they are becoming. Each child and person is an individual and not a carbon copy of the next person in line, everyone has a way of learning that is best for them, once they discover that they will soar like the eagles. God Bless our children!!

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