When I had children, I envisioned dropping them off at school, packing lunches, having conversations about what happened in school that day, and helping my children with their homework. I also saw myself back at work. So, when my oldest was 4 and ready to attend school part-time, I enrolled him in our local private school. It was a great school. They offered a language immersion program, there were 10 kids to 1 teacher and a parent helper. They were also willing to accept my 4-year-old as a kindergartener. It was a great program. Well after a week my son started to have temper tantrums when he got home from school. This was not like him, he was a sweet loving kid and before this I had never seem him throw a tantrum. At first I thought he was tired. He had never gone to school and playing along with school is tiring. I thought I would let him adjust, but he never did.
After, a few weeks of tantrums, I sat him down and asked what was going on. He could not tell me. I was concerned, I wondered was he being bullied? I decided to check up on him at school and what I saw was him having fun. He was running around with friends and having the best time. Then he came home and again he was angry. I sat him down once more and started asking more questions. I asked, “Is anyone mean to you?” His response, “No. They are all my friends.” I asked, “are the teachers being too hard on you?” He said, “no, school is too easy mom. I am bored. I don’t want to color I already know everything.”I knew he was ahead academically, that is why I enrolled him in school early. I told him I would speak to the teachers.
When I spoke to the teachers they told me he already knew everything. He was far ahead of the other kids, but he was participating and a very sweet kid. His second language teacher (immersion program) stated he was doing better than the older kids who were native speakers. He wanted to accelerate him. I took all this information and asked the principle to allow him to do first grade work. She agreed. Well, that worked for 1 month, then it started all over again. He said he already knew everything and was bored. I knew that I needed to figure something else out for him.
I began to research other school options. I called many schools and they gave me sample work for someone his age and a grade above. He knew all of it. The schools refused to advance more than one grade. There was no way they wanted a 4 year (almost 5-year-old) in the second grade. Even the schools that had gifted programs stated that they could not get accommodations until after third grade (so we need to wait 3 years). The only option I had left was homeschooling.
I began to research homeschooling and decided that it was the best option. I had no idea where to begin, so I enrolled with an online school. He was in Kindergarten (age 5) and the work they provided was for Kinder, however, they said he can work ahead and when complete move up to the next grade. I was excited, he was excited (though he missed his school friends).
Three months into the program he completed Kinder. They sent me all the materials for first grade. Three months later he completed first grade. Well, this time they refused to send me the materials for second grade. They refused to move him up. I pulled him out of the online school and decided to give it a go on my own.
I went back to researching and tried many different curricula, he finished a years’ worth in a few months. His tantrums started once again. I was at a loss. I was trying to challenge him. I was spending $100’s of dollars purchasing curricula, what else could I do? I decided it had to be an emotional issue. So, I reached out to others. Many told me it was a phase, some said I was pushing him (I was not, he wanted to learn). Some told me to put him in school he missed his friends, but he acted like this when he was in school; plus, we had many play-dates. Nothing made sense. Then someone told me to test his IQ. I was not a fan of IQ testing and I had no idea what testing had to do with emotions. But, at this point I had hit a wall and thought alright I will listen to her and see if this will help.
I called and set up an appointment to have him tested, he was now 6. The psychologist came to our home and tested him. I could see that my son was not into this test. I saw his eyes wondering (this means he was thinking about other things). I was like great the kid is going to fail a IQ test. After the test the psychologist stated it would take a few weeks to get the results, however, he believes my son scored extremely high. He was in shock at his math skills. He stated that he probably hit the ceiling. He had not seen anything like this in the many years he has been testing.
A few weeks later we got the results. I opened the envelope and cried my eyes out. I showed my husband and said, “What are we going to do?” He and I had no idea. We did not know where to begin or what to do.
My friend, the one who told me to have my son tested, told me about the Davidson Institute. I researched and applied. A couple months later we found out he was accepted. Being part of Davidson was immense help, mostly due to other parents. I found others who were or had the same issues I was having. The consultants set up an appointment with a psychologist who dealt with kids like my older son. I walked away with a better understanding of what it meant to be “profoundly gifted”, this is an educational term. I also, walked away with an understanding of why he was upset, he was not challenged. He needed to be challenged, he enjoyed it, it is what motivated him.
Before the next school year began, I sat down with my son and talked about being challenged. I told him I would do my best to provide what he needed and craved. He got a huge smile on his face and said, “thank you mom.” That day I began to create lesson plans for him. I created lessons in all subjects except for Language Arts (not my strength). I adjusted the plans when needed. It was quite a bit of work on my part, however, it was worth it. The tantrums stopped. He was happy. He was and is not perfect, he is a kid, however he was engaged and enjoyed learning again.
Then issues started with my younger son, but this time I had some experience. So off we went for testing and I began to create his lesson plans. He was more creative than his brother, so I adjusted the plans for him. Homeschooling was a necessity for our family. It also ended up a blessing.