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A Brilliant Mind

We all brag on our kids.  So know that I know we all consider our kids to be the next Einstein, Henry Ford, Marie Curie, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Da Vinci, or in my case, Sheldon Cooper.  I do wholeheartedly get that.  Please understand that, as I quote the following comment left on Thawed, and then get into my response.

I’m sure you already know this, but on the off chance, here you go. If kiddo’s ADHD, showing signs of OCD, and isn’t able to manage in another educational setting (“it’s not them, it’s him”), these are red flags in the special education world. It’s worth asking the school district for a full psycho-educational run down on him. It should include academic, psychological, mental health, and anything else that you’re at all concerned about (speech pragmatics, ability to negotiate a playground, whatever). Your family may choose to homeschool, or to enroll him in a private kinder, and only you know what will work best for him and you, but it’s the district’s obligation to put him in a kindergarten with the necessary supports he requires to succeed (which damn well includes a school bus). Cognitive behavioral therapy and a tightly structured day can do wonders for kids with ADHD, and if that’s what it takes for him to manage school (and the school to manage him) then they get to provide it.

I think this warrants addressing beyond the comments section.

I don’t think the ADHD (or OCD, or any other possible diagnosis, for that matter) is why he doesn’t thrive in preschool, I honestly think he isn’t challenged enough. He went in there knowing basic multiplication so therefor couldn’t take them seriously when they tried to teach him how to count along with the other kids. At the same time he gets stuck counting past 12. It’s a patience thing. As in, he has no patience for the inferior brain trying to teach him.  He has to decide he cares and then teach himself.  Hence him questioning what the hell his brother is taught “at that school” when Thomas made a simple math mistake.  Kid was tired, Luke had no hesitation calling him on it though.

That dynamic of brothers competing aside, there is something in there that can’t be missed.  I haven’t taught Luke math.  Sure, I taught him how to count, and what the numbers looked like.  We even struggled on that.  Oh lord.  But even before he could count successfully past 8, he could tell you that 2 times 4 was 8.  Not because I taught him, but because he was watching me build something that had 4 screws on the one side and just assumed that meant there were 8 screws total.  Sure, he could have added it up, but he could only see one side.  That takes a certain amount of cognative thinking.  He was 4.

I pride myself on my math skills, but I couldn’t have done that, self-taught, at 4.  How many really could have?

He has a psychiatrist who is keeping tabs on him, though yes the school board could apply it to education. But honestly, I don’t want to IEP him if I can avoid it. And when he is medicated, I can avoid it. I was going to stick him in a regular class, the reason it didn’t happen that way is because I missed deadlines I didn’t realize where come and gone, and because of his age, but not the mental curiosities. The strive for pre-K was because he’s only had 1 year of pre-school and just doesn’t seem to be quite ready for kindergarten to me.  (The school bus issue was isolated to pre-K since it’s a separate program that happens to be housed in a school.)

And the relief that came when homeschooling suddenly became a serious option, goes beyond psych evaluations and IEPs.  It goes into knowing kids aren’t meant to fit molds.  Not every child is meant to be a brain surgeon.  And the most brilliant minds out there are going to look at a standardized test and a scantron and ask: what the heck are they teaching in these schools?  I mean seriously, WTF!

I have always known my Lucas was not meant to fit a mold.  And now I’m following my heart and acting upon it.

His mental health is a concern, always. But honestly, so is what the federal government is doing to the education system. I want my little engineer to be able to get excited about robots and spend his school day building his own and then programming it to carry off a hit on his older brother, and not having to worry about the latest standardized test out there.  I think Thomas is about to take his 3rd.  For this year.

I have no doubts this kid is brilliant. But he’s brilliant in a way that won’t come across on a scantron.  It will, however,  come across when he’s making millions on government projects you don’t have the security clearance level to hear about.  Momma just prays it’s ethical.

In a sea of education options, what works for one child shouldn’t have to work for another.  If I honestly thought a public school classroom was the answer for him, I’d go fierce momma and there he’d be come fall, with or with the evaluation and IEP.  Many of you nod your head knowing this to be the case.  Some of you are just thankful you won’t have to help me hide the bodies that could potentially pile up during the process.

In the same way I know this to be the answer for Luke, I know pulling Thomas out of school is the worst education decision I could make for Thomas.  Oh my anger of teaching to tests and government interference makes me daydream about it, but he thrives in a classroom.  I know, in my head, better than to mess with that.

Sambam, meanwhile, might inspire a 3rd option.  I’m thinking an all-girls, private, boarding school.  But only when I realize she has my personality, Aphrodite’s beauty, and breathes fire, like the red dragon she is.  Once puberty hits… well she’ll be the one we hide bodies for.  We’re going to need a backyard.

The homeschool program we are placing him in starting this fall, is a virtual classroom.  They’ll provide a computer, and then he’ll have a full class with a teacher heading it, just online.  There will be field trips you can try and make it to. (All across Ohio, hence the “try”.)  There is an initiative to connect those living close to one another for play-dates.  There is a PE log sheet so that they know you are up and outside running around, skinning knees, and pelting daddy with snowballs.  I’ve seen the curriculum for K-12th grade.  Not a standardized test in site.  It’s taught to foster brilliant minds, not convince the federal government of anything.  It’s amazing how much interference we have from the government and yet how uneducated our nation really is.  I know Pat and I aren’t brilliant, but with the freedom this program gives, paired with the structure this program offers as well, I think this will meet all of Luke’s needs.  And I don’t have to worry about Pat trying to teach him algebra, because there is a licensed teacher on the other end of computer who has it covered.

Speaking of, I’ve introduced him to algebra, he thinks it’s silly, but seems to be on the cusp of understanding it.  Give me til the end of summer.  He’s got this.  He already understand that if 2+5=7, then 5+2=7, and 7-2=5.  That is step one to understanding 2+x=7, solve for x, after all.

So in short: while his mental health diagnostics will always be something to work with/around, I think in ways they will inspire greatness, and I think conventional school will only hold him back.  It’s also worth noting that his behavior in the pre-school classroom is spot on.  They find him to be a helpful, sweet, loving, joy to have around.  They just can’t seem to teach him.

As an interesting note, tucked here at the end, that’s why he isn’t going back after Spring Break.  He’ll finish out the week/month, but once we decided to homeschool, it started to seem ludicrous to spend so much time, energy, and money to try to force pre-school to happen.  He isn’t getting anything out of it.  So he can spend those hours each week working on his math workbook I bought him.  As well as the letters and phonics books.

 

Our next step is a lined dry-erase board so he can work on penmanship, and which direction the numbers 7 and 3 face.  It’s the only thing I have to teach him in this exact regard.  He doesn’t seem to need my help otherwise.  Unless you count reading the instructions.  Other than that, I handed over the book and off he flew.

And he does.  He will.  He flies.  He will fly higher.  And I’m actually relieved to be able to loosen a chain or two.

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