Well hello there! Yes, it’s been a very, very long time. So, you’re asking, why aren’t you posting anymore? It’s hard to say, but I think, in a nutshell, things just got way better and the urge…the urgency… just isn’t there the same way it was. I don’t know… I write things in my head. I see educational-related, gifted-related local and national stories that could be the basis for posts, but … but…
And then there is the issue of identifiability (is that even a word? Spell check says no). Although both girls have done things in the past year that make me as proud as punch, writing about them at any length would just make it all too easy to connect the dots. And really, with them away and my role receding, it’s not my story to tell any more.
HOWEVER, I have been prodded out of hibernation by one-time reader, Perpetual Dissent. For those who might remember (or care to do the Google) Perpetual was a fellow blogger, and a rather razor smart high school student who occasionally commented here and vice versa. The other day, he wrote me the nicest email, which I will share with you shortly.
But first a quick update (I can’t resist). C. is a high school senior, graduating in just three weeks or so. What can I say? The past two years have been really, really good. She has worked incredibly hard at her school. No, like, crazy hard. But it’s been good hard. She’s been intellectually challenged. She’s had the independence she’s craved. She’s found a great group of friends at her school who love her and who she loves back and with whom she has all kinds of crazy adventures. She’s had a phenomenal advisor who has had her back and gone to bat for her a few times with the school administration, and, overall, super smart, talented and passionate teachers. We’re so grateful that she’s had this opportunity to attend one of the amazing school.
And she’s still who she is. Not suffering fools lightly. Opinionated. Speaking out about injustices, advocating for women, immersed in politics and history (and Sherlock!). One of the things that tickled us immensely was that she was voted “Most Likely to Rule the World” by her classmates. Now how cool is that–after only being there 2 years? It’s who she is. She’s awesome. And she (and I) would like nothing better than to write to that odious middle school magnet coordinator who made our lives hell and tell her, look at me. Look at me now. You were so wrong. Come fall, she’ll be attending university overseas, one of the top universities in the world, and again, we are so excited for her, as it is just the right fit for her on so many levels.
And M.? She’s blossomed at her school. It was hard in the beginning, not only the academic transition from homeschooling to school, middle school to high school, but the whole roommate, regimentation part of boarding school. It was tough. I describe her school as “Girl Scout camp meets boot camp.” There was some self-doubt in those first weeks. But she quickly discovered that “hey, I can do this.” And what’s more, that she is a top student. She’s being challenged, but there’s a lot of personal attention and support there as well. And because sports are required at boarding school, she’s become something of a runner, cross-country in the fall and track in the spring. In fact, she was chosen for varsity and competed this weekend in the league championships. I doubt it would ever have happened had she stayed local. Overall, we’ve seen so much positive growth. This summer she’s going to have an amazing internship opportunity with one of the Smithsonian museums. Again, we’re so grateful.
So, back to the very, very kind email that I received from Perpetual Dissent. Thank you. Thank you so much. It really touched me and it’s the perfect thing to share on Mother’s Day.
Hi there!As a long time reader of the blog, I’d noticed the rate of posts start to slow. Since it’s been just under a year since your last post, I guess it’s safe to say the blog has gone the way of the dodo. I’m curious as to how your kids have been getting on, though, since I’m only a few years older (I’m finishing up my freshman year of college) and could relate to a lot of what you wrote about them.Also, if either of them is still having a rough time in school these days, I’d like to say that as someone whose 13 years of undifferentiated public schooling went about as you’d expect (I was reading Lord of the Rings in 3rd grade, so you can probably imagine how English classes were…), I can promise that things will be so, so, so much better in college. I’m at a ~750 student liberal arts school that has only STEM majors (a STEM major and almost an entire humanities major? BLISS!), and not only am I surrounded by people who are as smart as me, I’m surrounded by people who are smarter! After years of trying to find friends to talk with about the political structure of a zombie-ruled Earth as predicted by a close reading of Oliver Twist, it truly is paradise.Having work that is hard enough, and sometimes even too hard has made me so much more stressed, but also so much happier. Until I got to a school that could truly push me, I didn’t realize just how sorely I needed to be pushed. Having people just as smart, as strange, and as frankly ridiculous as me has made my life so much better. In high school I really never had that feeling of being engaged in life, because everything I did I could coast through. Running into things that are hard, that force me to think, and sometimes that I simply cannot do has forced me to work harder and better than ever. In high school, I could hardly motivate myself to do two hours of homework a night. Now I’m doing 5 or more hours a day, every day, and I love it. I know it’s cliché to say everything gets better in college, but at least for one gifted kid whose so called “top 100” high school bored him half to death and who’s at a top-20 school and happier than he’s ever been, it’s proved so very true.I also wanted to say how lucky they are to have a mother who gets it. My mom is a wonderful woman, and she really did try to do what was best for me, but it took until midway through high school before she really got it. In elementary school, when I kept acting out (11th+ grade reading levels in elementary school will do that) she tried putting me in a group therapy thing for troubled kids for a few months before it became clear that wouldn’t help. The school recommended an IQ test, so when I was 8 I was given the WISC-III (if I remember right, I hit the verbal ceiling and scored in the mid 120s in processing). She didn’t really know what to do with it, though, so nothing ever came of it apart from giving me a bit of an ego.She never fought to get me differentiated instruction or get me put in advanced tracks because it took her so long to get that that had been my single biggest problem. I spent more time than was healthy on the internet from about 6th grade onward because it gave me the chance to teach myself and to escape bullying and loneliness. I finally started making real, good friends halfway through high school, but that was more because I mastered the art of the chameleon than any uptick in difficulty. I had 5 AP classes at once 2 years in a row (a total of 12) and those were no harder than an ordinary class as far as I was concerned.I know now that she really did her best for me, but there were many times when it felt like even my parents weren’t on my side, and that I was in it all alone, and it made things a lot harder for me.The fact that you get it and have fought for them has probably made more of a difference even than you realize, not just in the quality of the education they get but in the fact that there’s someone out there willing to fight for them. Knowing that makes a huge, huge difference. I certainly hope they’ve thanked you for it, but if not, I’ll do it for them: thank you. Keep fighting the good fight.-An older (and hopefully a little wiser) Perpetual Dissent
Perpetual, I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU! And again, thank you so much for you letter. I too am a little, and hopefully a little wiser.