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How God Helps Me, Part Two

alec vanderboom

In the middle of all of this colic stress, my only son's behavior problems have killed me. I straight out admitted defeat. My son appeared to met almost every criteria for "Oppositional Behavior Disorder" and I told my husband I was ready to get him into therapy.

I don't know what Jon said--but it was something like "just give it one more week to pray about it."

Then somehow this article came to my attention, "The Joys and Challenges of Raising A Gift Child."  This quote really helped me, "gifted kids are almost comparable to special needs children. While their IQs are high, they have behavioral aspects that need special attention and the right teachers with the right understanding to guide them."

The article had a link to NAGC, but what really helped me was the link to SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted). I can't even tell what that meant to me to find that site. I not only had a checklist that described my son--I had a checklist that described MYSELF.

Suddenly, my anxiety, my perfectionism, my extreme environmental sensitivity--those weren't just negative personality traits I needed to rid myself of to become a Saint--they weren't part and parcel of an artistic soul and a prayerful heart.

So now this home-schooling journey that I'm on--its really, really healing.

I learned that if I give my son stimulating engineering projects during the day- he's a super sweet kid who gets into NO trouble with his younger Sisters.

I've learned that STEM Movement (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for elementary school students really mean "throw a couple of addition dittos and a volcano explosion at an 8 year old kid. That there is reason that boys are sucked up into computer games--it scratches that technology itch. I've learned that outside of legos--there is next to nothing for young Civil Engineers. (This being the exception). I've learned that if I want to engage my son, I've got to learn how to be an engineering teacher--and if I'm learning it for him, I might as well share it with his cub scout pack, our parish's Catholic School and our local public schools. (There are more "Rocket Boys" out there who need encouragement).

On a deeper level, I'm figuring how to gently love myself and my husband, and my five children.

(It's weird to write about this because I was taught very firmly by my mother that I wasn't gifted. I was "talented". But now the experts are saying that is the same thing. Moreover, my difficulties with simple math problems and my spelling mistakes and my poor organizational skill are not a sign that I'm not gifted--it's rather a common problem for gift students.

I'd started researching gift education many years earlier--but I sort of dropped all of that when I discovered that my kids had such terrible trouble learning how to read. How can you be considered gift when you can't read, right? But it turns out that 20% of all gift kids do have trouble reading. It's the same problem my kids have--phonics work is so boring they don't have stamina to do it even for a few minutes a day. That is the same problem both Jon and I had--we love to read now, but we hated it in elementary school. So now I'm tweaking my unschooling method to be more direct in reading instruction because truly, their life will be so much easier once they start really learning how to read).