Three Little Words – G & T

This post has been a long time coming. The story begins two years ago, the night we went to our very first parent’s night (parent-teacher conferences) at the Boy’s school. At that point in time we knew the boy was bright. When your child starts reading things they’ve never ever seen before at just over two, you tend to pick up on it. However it wasn’t until we sat down with his reception teacher, Mrs W, that those three little words became irreversibly attached to the Boy. You may know the ones I mean, ‘Gifted and Talented’.

I’m sure there are many parents in the world who would love to hear their child’s teacher utter those three little words about their offspring. I’m not sure I’m one of them. I spent most of the Boy’s reception year praying he didn’t get bored and become disruptive. Halfway through that year he began to go spend time in the year one class for mathematics (sorry I’m American and ‘maths’ still just sounds wrong to me!) lessons. In the beginning he liked the challenge, but he disliked missing the fun education through play atmosphere of the reception classroom. It wasn’t a success, but it wasn’t a complete failure. In many ways it made the following year a little bit easier as Mrs D already knew what he was capable of.

That’s not to say that he didn’t get bored. I distinctly remember him getting in trouble on two different occasions for having drawn all over his desk. Once again halfway through the year or so he started going up a year for mathematics lessons. Thankfully, this time around it worked a little better. The Boy now had friends in the class above him, so moving up for lessons wasn’t as socially stressful as it previously had been.

Boy with Leather Teddy from NAGC Big WeekendFast forward to the first parents evening of this year where to year two teacher, Miss B, uttered the phrase ‘GCSEs at 11′ to us.  Immediately we knew that we’d reached the point as parents where we no longer felt prepared to handle it all on our own.  Which lead us to Potential Plus (formerly NAGC) who thankfully were holding a Big Family Weekend not too far away from us in the West Midlands.

We went with open minds and although the Boy absolutely loved it, Hubby and I found the sessions we attended a trifle disappointing.  I would have loved the opportunity to network with parents who had children of a similar age and intellect, but neither the schedule of the weekend or the mealtime facilities really allowed for such things to occur.

For now we will continue playing things by ear, making sure that the Boy is challenged where he needs to be.  We will not be *those* parents, you know the pushy ones I mean, but we won’t let the Boy’s questioning intellect die either.  It’s quite a tightrope to walk.

I love to hear from other parents with similar children. What have you done? What do you plan on doing?

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6 comments to Three Little Words – G & T

  • F_a_B_

    I can give you a different perspective… I was a g&t child that did do Maths GCSE at 11 (actually daydream before my 11th birthday as I’m a June baby) and I did love the challenge. My mum didn’t push me at all, intact I passed the 11+ and was offered place at grammer school but she couldn’t afford the extras it needed. For years I wished I had gone, and been stretched… then gone onto college and uni. instead I found school dull and decided to finish education at 16 and went into an apprenticeship.
    Do I wish I had taken the intellectual route? yes of course.
    Do I wish I had been challenged? yes… butmy life now is comfortable and I’m just another desk monkey.
    My little Olivia is a smarty pants (of course at 19 months this could all change, but she knows her shapes and colours, and talks for England) and as she grows, while things are enjoyable, I will push her to reach her potential. (sorry for rambling)
    Well done raising a clever wee man!

    • @F_a_B_   I’ve always tried to answer his questions, but not introduced topics beyond his interests.  I think it terrifies me slightly more than it should because I come from a different educational system.  I was a TAG child (as we were known in the US) which meant that when I was finally at a school large enough to offer advanced classes, I was stuck in them and left high school at 18 with a number of college/university credits under my belt.  I just want the Boy to stay happy and inquisitive.

  • anon

    Home education! Seriously, schools have no idea what to do with gifted kids – I mean, what on earth is the teacher talking about with “GCSEs at 11″?! No primary school is going to be willing or able to put him through GCSEs, so this is meaningless unless you take him out of the school system and give him the chance to follow his own interests. If she’s saying that he’s 5 years ahead of his peers, which my daughter was at that age, then why is he doing maths with kids just one year ahead? Utterly pointless.
     
    I agree that the NAGC events are often awful. If you go to another one, my advice is that you need to pick your parent workshops very carefully and read between the lines a bit. Some of the parent workshops do offer exactly the networking opportunity (and mutual support) you’re looking for, but they tend to be the more practical, hands-on ones or the ones about supporting your child emotionally. The ones about helping your child to fit in at school or how to force them to do their homework, or how to make sure they get straight As (I’m paraphrasing, obviously, but, as I said, read between the lines!), attract a very different type of parent and I’ve found that I tend to sit in them grinding my teeth and biting my tongue!

  • AverageMum

    I am a Mother of a two year old boy. I am currently fighting for a diagnosis for my boy because I ‘know’ and always have known, that he is different. He was early to smile, lift his head, talk, learn his colours, alphabet, numbers etc. He can read and spell, and has started to write his 5 letter name (went two in August). He can count beyond 100 and can recognise numbers well into the hundreds, and occasionally the 1,000s. I have concerns as to what will happen when he starts nursery/school as he already shows potential to become disruptive when bored. I have enlisted him into a nursery to start in January which has a gifted programme, but he can’t access it without a formal diagnosis. All the NHS seem concerned with is  whether he has Asperger’s or not (I’m a support worker for people with Asperger’s and autism and can confidently say he does not have this condition). They seem unconcerned when I mention my concerns that he may be gifted, and brush it off as though I’m trying to make him someone he’s not. I feel guilty mentioning his abilities to anyone because they look at me like I’m being ridiculous, trying to make my child ‘the best’. But then I feel guilty for playing down my own son’s abilities. I also feel like a fraud as I don’t have a diagnosis for him, but I know he’s gifted. I’m at a loss as to what to do with him, and feel I’ve reached a dead end until he reaches school where they will wait until he becomes a ‘problem child’ before taking note. I apologise that this has little relevance to this blog, but do not know where else to turn. I would love some advice from anyone in a similar situation. Many Thanks in advance. : )

    • @AverageMum You’re little one sounds very much like mine when he was little.  When he was 3 the Boy started at a small pre-school that fed pretty much all of its children on to our chosen primary.  He loved pre-school and helped other children with the activities he found easy and excelled in art.  When they’re young socialization is (at least in my mind) every bit as important as continued learning.  If you’re interested in having your son evaluated, I would contact Potential Plus (formerly NAGC-Britain) {http://www.potentialplusuk.org/} directly.  There’s also a couple of facebook groups for parents of children with high learning potential – If you contact me on facebook via my blog page, I can signpost you to these.  Just know that you’re not alone.  I went through pretty much the same thing.  Don’t be afraid to let the nursery works and receptions teachers know what your child can do.  Don’t ever make your son feel like he’s anything less than perfect exactly as he is.  <– Probably the best advice I have to give.  Please feel free to email me or facebook me if you want to chat more.  =)

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