Yesterday, I reflected upon the changes our family has made this year. Homeschooling a profoundly gifted and twice exceptional child is a daunting task, especially when you find yourself suddenly doing it. Fortunately, we have been blessed with open-minded family and friends, and they have been nothing but supportive of our decision. However, when we made our decision, we had yet to actually meet any other homeschoolers, let alone anyone homeschooling a twice-exceptional child. I felt completely overwhelmed and under-prepared for such an undertaking. Luckily, there is an abundance of online resources for families like ours. I soon discovered Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, Hoagies Gifted Education Page, and a few other online forums for parents of kids like Leo. I honestly do not know how I would be surviving this first year of homeschooling without these online connections.
(This brings me to a question I always find myself wondering: What did families like ours do before the internet? I imagine it must have felt like a very lonely and misunderstood endeavor. Those of you reading who were able to do it and come out smiling at the other end, I salute you!)
Whenever I have a question about giftedness, or homeschooling, or twice exceptional kids, or behavior, or quirkiness, or educational materials, or courses, or anything, I turn to these online communities, and I have learned an incredible amount from them. Along the way, I’ve been blogging about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funny of figuring out this whole homeschooling thing. If you had told me eighteen months ago that I would soon be homeschooling and blogging about it, I would have erupted into incredulous laughter. Today, I sit here doing both of those things and I am enjoying the journey more than I ever would have expected. I consider it a privilege to be a GHF blogger; I am honored to be blogging alongside folks who have taught me so much in short time. Blogging has allowed for me to connect with many other parents and educators of twice exceptional children, and I have learned a remarkable amount from them already.
I’ve found my community, and I’m a better person for it. I am learning from these communities and growing, as both a parent and a homeschooler, by the day. The problem is… what about Leo? How do I help him find his community? This is something Schizz and I grapple with all the time because Leo is so different. He thinks differently, he views the world differently, he experiences the world differently.
Thinking about all of this, I am reminded of one day last spring when I took the kids to one of our favorite breakfast places with a few other moms from my village and their kiddos. All of our kids got along wonderfully and everyone had a fantastic time. When we were leaving the restaurant, Leo looked at the lattice-work and arched trellis in the garden adjacent to the restaurant and exclaimed, “Hey! You guys! Look at that right there- isn’t it beautiful? Doesn’t it look like a portcullis but with flowers?” Some of his friends simply ignored him while some looked where he was pointing and smiled. I went back to my car and Googled the word portcullis. The garden’s trellis and arch did resemble a portcullis with flowers, and it was beautiful. And, not for the first time, I was awed by his view of the world. I also felt a sense of foreboding because five-year-olds are very forgiving of each others’ quirkiness. They ignore it, or roll with it, but they do not yet reject it. As kids get older, they can be cruel to each other. Differences are often not celebrated until after you’ve survived your teen years. There have been many other portcullis-type conversations in the last few years and I know they will continue in the years to come. Right now, Leo has friends now who love him and appreciate him, but will he always? And, how do Schizz and I, as his parents, help him find his people?
There is a saying in the gifted community: “If you’ve met one PG kid, you’ve met one PG kid.” How do these kids, kids who are so different from the norm and so different from each other, find their tribe? The question is not an easy one to solve. Thankfully, I have these new communities to help me as we wrestle with these, and other, concerns. And because of these new communities, I have a few leads. I’ve learned that there are opportunities for PG kids: gatherings, classes, camps. The difficulty is, these opportunities can be costly and infrequent; they don’t solve the day-to-day issue of finding your tribe. Another online mom explained it to me this way: her asynchronous, gifted son has his soccer friends, and he also has his chess friends, his Minecraft friends, and his homeschool co-op friends. He is a kid who, like many asynchronous gifted kids, is “many ages at once” and so he has friends for each of these levels of development.
Now I turn to you, my readers and another newfound community for which I am grateful, how have you helped your child(ren) to find friendships? Please share your story here. I have a lot to learn!
This post is part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum blog hop Finding Your Community. Please click the link below to keep on hopping!
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Happy 10th Anniversary, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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