Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are You Kidding Me???

I remember worrying about my son starting middle school and all the pressures that go along with living through those middle years. But at the moment, I'm thinking I'd be happy with the worries of zits, girls, and lockers.... instead of GED tests and College.

Today I met with yet "another" 6Th grade teacher to discuss options for my oldest son.

WHY? Because I'm not sold on the ideas that his other teachers have given me for him.

They want me to get him hooked up with all these on-line courses, college prep materials etc.

Yeah, let's just SKIP JR. HI ALL TOGETHER... and while we're at it, we can forget high school too. Who needs dances and sports and proms?

Basically, they don't think I'm "pushing" or "challenging" him enough. And guess what, they're right... if you consider success based on production of work.

I'm not sold on that idea that I need to push him any more because I'm not sure he's ready for that. Not just because he's not interested in becoming the next boy genius (and he's not), but because life if more than just acquiring knowledge.

Ironically (because I'm a teacher), academics aren't a big priority around here. It's more about teaching them to love God, know God, love family, and love sports. * not always in that order.

At our consultation today, we were encouraged to have him take the GED test within the next few week, and begin classes at the JC this summer to see how well he'd enjoy taking classes there in the Fall.

He's already passed the high school exit exam as an 11 year old. Yeah, the one they give to 18 year old seniors before they graduate. His lowest score in any sub category was a 94... so I'm thinking the GED wouldn't be too hard for him.


They want me to have my kid skip 7th grade, 8th grade, as well as his Frosh to Senior year of high school... just like that???


He just turned 12 for Pete sake ... like, yesterday- literally!!!

He's a baby. He has no business being with kids that much older than him! He's mature in some ways, but life experience counts... and he just doesn't have much of that. He's a VERY young 12 year old in a LOT of ways... and I LOVE that about him. I love that he'll do whatever we ask him to do, he'll go where ever we ask him to go, he'll BE whatever we ask him to be. No questions asked... he just does it! Usually with a happy heart because he trusts use implicitly!

What a treasure that is! What a responsibility that is!

Oh, that I don't let him down.

There are a million questions racing through my mind. What about sports? What about friends his age? What about trying to get him to appreciate this God-given gift (which HE SO DOESN'T see as a gift)?

I wish he'd have come with instructions.

A recipe I could follow.

Directions I could read, understand and abide by.

After the meeting today... I felt like I'm really letting him down as his mother. I HATE THAT FEELING!!!

As I prayerfully consider what's best for him, I don't feel any closer to knowing what that looks like, or sounds like, or feels like. I'm painfully aware that what I'm doing now is probably not enough... but REALLY...

And as much as Jr. high and high school wasn't all of my fondest of memories... I can't imagine just "robbing" him of the experience all together.

My hubby thinks we have to at least consider it because that's the advice we've been given by so many different professionals, and friends who know him.


I just don't know.



Jennifer said...

Your in my prayers and thoughts!

3boys247 said...

Wow, what a decision to make. I will be praying for guidance and direction for all of you.

While Jr High and High school weren't that much fun while I was there, I do have nice memories of the experience.

Anonymous said...

If he were my child, I'd listen to my gut. Your gut is telling you that socially he's not ready. Now, granted, I can't even imagine how advanced your son is, so that's just my opinion. I think giving him some harder course work in addition to his regular school day wouldn't be a bad idea IF he wanted it but not to skip it all together.

Also, in high school, when he gets there, don't most schools offer AP classes or an honors program?

I don't know. I think there is more to school than learning out of a book for a child's development. Granted, home schoolers typically meet these needs too so it can be done outside the confines of a school building.

Would you consider letting him skip a single grade at a time to see how that goes? I know a woman who skipped 3rd grade and then her freshman year of high school. She ended up in her brother's grade which I'm sure threw a whole bunch of different things in there family dynamics-wise. But she went to an Ivy League university, is now a lawyer in her 30s and is socially no different from anyone else.

Kelly said...

What does your son think about all of this??

I'm thinking that you are doing the right thing. He's only 2 years older than my oldest and I'm trying to picture him taking college courses. That scares me. I could certainly see bumping him up a grade or two but skipping all of that?? I'd be so worried about him regretting missing out on so much of his youth later on in life. This is a tough one,good luck.

Carol said...

Goodness that is a tricky decision.

Ultimately I think the advice you've had from professionals is solely regarding his education and the decision you have to make effects every facet of his life.

He clearly is a super gifted boy but that doesn't mean what the professionals are telling you is right for him is actually right for him.

You're his mother your judgment totally eclipses theirs.

Karen @Snakes-Snails-Puppydogtails said...

Wow I just can't imagine that!! I agree with the listening to your gut. The other thing that always is important to me it that my husband and I are in total agreement. SO if he thinks you should consider and you think wait... maybe their is a middle ground like some of the other commenters suggested! It's also about what your son thinks... regardless of what happens it won't be EASY for him... if he goes to college - that's just not easy anyway, plus add the akwardness of being so young... if he stays where he is there is the bordom of not being challenged. Good for you for thinking about that he REALLY needs over that other people THINK he needs. It's not a clear cut decision.. I'll be praying for you!

andria said...

Childhood passes so quickly, why speed it up?

Are there any extracurricular activities he might be interested in that could challenge him?

I would go that route before going for the college classes. College was hard enough for me at 18. I wasn't ready for it socially or emotionally at that age, I really could've used a year (or 2) to mature. I cannot imagine what it would've been like at 12.

Bad Momma said...

Wow! I can see why you home-school. On the one hand, it is cool that the teachers recognize what a smart kid you have, on the other hand I understand your fear of a missed childhood.

I think you need to see what Kyle wants to do and let your instincts guide you.

I have different variations of this at my house. Our youngest(2nd grader) is the most similar to this situation.

You can keep him with kids his own age yet supplement his classwork with advanced work. (My son is taken out of his math class & put in the next grade up for gifted math. We do worry when he is a year or two older what will happen.)

I had a discussion about skipping kids ahead vs holding them back with an acquaintance who is a high school guidance counselor. She told me that kids that are held back are quick to tell people their real age and are keenly aware of being held back. Kids that are skipped ahead don't seem to mind as much.

Don't look too far ahead and take it a step at a time. What a cool problem to have! I actually wouldn't mind if my boys were able to take some college courses in high school. We would save a little on their college education!

Julie said...

And I thought we had tough decisions because our oldest (a freshman) takes all AP courses and fills his schedule with extra classes so he can finish a year earlier.

Personally, I wouldn't push your son too far ahead, especially if he has other non-academic interests that are taught at the high school. My son is taking drafting and architectural drawing and other shop classes and next year is taking Cisco computer something-or-other. He is experimenting with electronics at home.

He will be that much further ahead when he does go to college, plus have all that maturing and relationship-building he gets from high school.

If your son is interested, MIT offers a weekend called SPLASH in the fall for bright kids. It puts a real fun spin on college classes -- and is really cheap.

Tammy said...

Wow, I have read your post twice and keep thinking of how hard this must be for you! I have no idea what I would do if this was one of my boys. I know I didn't think much of high school or middle school when I was there but now look back and wish I would of made more out of it. I enjoy going on to Facebook looking up old friends from high school. If you let him miss these years of school he will also miss those relationships. Being a parent is such a hard job. Pray and listen to your son and your gut and I'm sure what is right will come to you.

C and C Mommy said...

Personally, I think "we" push our kids too hard & too fast. My son is 6 years old & he so intent on making his reading goals, passing his spelling tests (he has made a 100 on every one so far.) The thing is--I have never told him that he needed to work that hard. I have told him to do his best....he comes up with his goals by himself.

Let your son grow up a little. Just because he has all those "book smarts" doesn't really mean he has enough experience to take college classes. There is way more to learn in life than what is in a book. All those tests test the minimum standards. Maybe you should ask your son what he wants to learn more about--let him lead the learning.

Gook luck!!

Miss Lisa said...

Wow--that's tough. He's for sure bright but you are right, there's more to it than this.
I know you homeschool some of your kids--have you looked into some advanced programs for him. I am a big fan of the greek approach to education--mind, body, soul--it's known as a classical (Christian) education and it is more challenging than the average type.
Also AP classes are great options, even though he would be younger. It's a great way to get college credit before college!
Above all go with your gut and pray for guidance. It will work out!

amanda said...

wow. clearly i don't know the whole story...but as a fellow teacher i totally agree with the whole thought about letting kids be kids. i have watched way too many 'gifted' kids lose their childhood bc they were 'pushed' into the adult world.

i think it's about finding a balance - and you, the mom, along with your son will find what is best for him.

4funboys said...

Thanks so much for your thoughts!!!

Tracey said...

WOW! I think it is wonderful that your son has such a gift. I agree that pushing him through school too fast is like "robbing" him of lots of life long lessons and experiences. Maybe there is a way to challenge him and let him experience school. Just pray and God will give you guidance.

Shawna said...

First, let me say congratulations on your sons gifts/talents! You must be doing a whole lot right to be in this position, which leads me to my second thought - congratulations! You must be an awesome mom to have what sounds like such a well-rounded son.

It sounds like a difficult decision to be sure, but what a good difficult decision to be faced with instead of something bad.

I faced this on a much smaller scale when our oldest son was younger, so I am a bit familiar with your dilemma. What I think is just take it day by day. Just like you, we decided not to rush things and let them happen more naturally, and try to challenge our son a bit at a time.

I know your situation is a lot bigger, so I pray God guides you in the choices you have to make. I bet it works out just fine.