Below is an excerpt from Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Press. The book is this month’s featured giveaway at RedWhiteandGrew.com.
Parents generally assume that the year their children turn five years old, they will send them off to kindergarten. The children will use scissors and paste, learn the alphabet, and maybe even learn to read. They’ll sit quietly while the teacher reads stories to them, and use manipulatives to familiarize themselves with basic mathematical concepts such as number recognition and counting. It will be fun, and parents will proudly display their children’s artwork on the refrigerator at home. When the parents go in for their first parent-teacher conference, they will meet the wonderful lady (it’s usually a lady, isn’t it?), maybe for the first time, whom they have entrusted with their children’s introduction to the world outside of their home, and they will be told how sweet their children are and how well they have learned to play with others. They will have no worries.
It’s a nice fantasy, isn’t it?
In fact, that’s all it is—a fantasy—for the millions of families with children who, for one reason or another, do not fit in well at school. The reasons are endless: they have big personalities; their teachers have expectations that the children can’t or won’t meet; the children’s development isn’t suited for that particular environment; the children learn in a different style or at a different pace than the other students do or the teacher is prepared to accommodate; and on and on. At some point, parents face a moment or a series of moments, where they have to wonder if the school or classroom their child attends five days out of seven is the right environment for their child.
Some parents face this defining moment early, when their six-year-old, who has completed the Harry Potter series, has a meltdown each morning when it’s time to get ready for school, or when their eight-year-old requests a physics textbook for her birthday, despite her marginal grade in science. For others, their child may appear to fit into the school environment fairly comfortably before it dawns on the parents that something is askew with this picture, that the fantasy and the reality simply are not mapping well. And then they ask, what happened? Is it them? Is it the child? Has the school failed them? And they wonder, “What am I going to do now?”
Some parents don’t even reach that point. They see their child struggling academically, emotionally, or socially in a school environment and they do everything they can think of to help. They discipline the child to motivate him to do his homework. They provide tutoring in reading, math, and social skills. They change classrooms or teachers. The child may have an individual education program (IEP), which is a legal document that outlines agreed-upon accommodations that the school district is bound to implement. Maybe the child is accelerated or given harder homework, and perhaps those parents still have a nagging feeling that something is not right.
For many families, homeschooling may be the best option. And if you’re at the point where you need to decide if homeschooling is right for your gifted and/or 2E child (or children!), then Making the Choice is an excellent resource.
• For details on this book–and to register for the October 2012 giveaway, please click HERE.
New from RW&G for homeschoolers: Work + Life + Homeschool