Wednesday, April 4, 2007

My Gifted Little Monkey:

Being the ever cautious parent, I had mixed emotions when I learned today that my 9 year old was accepted into the gifted and talented program at school. I know Waterford puts lots of resources into their G&T program, which is fabulous-- and ever so unpopular these days, in our PC world... seems like everyone wants to level things down so that all kids are receiving "equal" opportunities: but that makes it real hard for those 3rd graders who would rather study organic chemistry than a regular 3rd grade curriculum.

I struggle with those issues myself, as I am acquainted with parents who are very unsatisfied with our special ed programs: But if my kid can be engaged and stay interested in school (and not become your average brilliant 10th grade pothead)-- isn't that important, too? I scored higher on my SAT's in the 7th grade (high enough to gain entry into any college in the country) than I did in the 12th grade-- go figure. I simply got lost, and bored, not to mention irritated with the social politics of school-- long before I graduated. And so what's a smart girl to do with herself, until she can go off to college? Sue her principal? Stage protests? Write "diatribes against her fellow classmates" via the school newspaper? Ride the "El" trains and drink with the homeless en route to underground clubs in Chicago? Hitchhike across the country? (Not like I've done any of these things, I'm just a' sayin...)

An interesting life, to be sure, but paved with hard knocks I'd just as soon my progeny avoid, if at all possible. As a kid growing up, I struggled to make my way with a family that didn't completely understand my learning needs, and never fully realized exactly where I could go with the right resources: I want my kids to have a clearer path, with an opportunity to develop the talents they find the most useful, so they can go farther in life and *enjoy* their successes more than I have. Less struggle, more success.

My crazy adventures make for great tales around the watercooler, but who really gives a shit? My truths are far stranger than fiction, but aren't terriblly useful-- except to keep myself entertained when things get dull.

Tonight, Jacob and I played with his organic chemistry molecular structure model set that I just got from e-bay. We were playing with methane gas (poopie gas, in case you were curious). We kept changing it from CH4 +2 O2 to CO2 + 2 H2O-- how fun is that? We went to the library, too, and canoodled around until we found a set of chemistry books written for kids, ones he might actually read. I am so excited he can enjoy his geeky side and explore it to the fullest.

On a different note, I would be *so* happy if we could go to the Milwaukee Museum next week over Easter break. We frequented the museums when we were homeschooling, and many of them became a second home to us. I love those places, and have forever! For fun, I purchased tickets for the "Body Works" exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for next Friday, with the Omnimax movie showing of "Human Body" as well, and I am as gleeful as a schoolgirl! I hope the weather's nice, so we can wander about and see Cloud Gate and Milennium Park in the springtime. I'll always have a soft spot for Chicago, since it was my adolescent hang out. (Medusas, where are you???)

I miss being excited about the possibilities of the future, but I feel great knowing that my kids can have opportunities I let slip by.

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