Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Be, or Not to Be...

Mad, adj.: Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence. ~Ambrose Bierce

I learnt early I was not the brightest caboose on the tracks.  Round about grade 4 they used to issue standard I.Q tests to all the State School children, of which I was one at the time.   The selected intellectually superior were given the option to attend the gifted school.  Both my brothers made it without even trying.  I did not.

See, the tests are loaded.   Without saying a word the implication was that Math & Science mattered.  They came first on the paper.  Naturally I couldn't do any of it.  I never got to the rest of the paper because English was no~where near as important as Math & Science.  It took me a long time to realise I wasn't dumb; I just operated slightly differently to the rest of the world.

It took me so long in fact I had children of my own who started saying things like,"Speak English, mum", when I thought I was.  Then they started going, "Thanks to you, mum, my friends can't understand me."  As a family we have an extensive vocabularly ~ & we do not necessarily stick to English.  There was a time, because the words, Shut Up! were forbidden, when Star took great delight in telling people to Dun do beal! or Fermer la bouche!  Admittedly I once caused great consternation by muddling up my gentiles & genatiles.  I knew the difference but never having heard either word actually pronounced took pot luck & got it wrong!  It happens.

Forty years down the track I now know a lot about what *giftedness* looks like ~ & it is often not what people expect!  The intellectually bright are often not academically inclined.  More often not.  Many hide a learning disability.  Others concentrate on one area to the exclusion of all else.  I know I did.  As an adult I can run down the checklists put out for these things & tick all the boxes relating to language, interests, concentration ~ & not a single one relating to math, science, logic.    My mind does not work that way.

I can run down these lists & tick all the boxes in one area or another for every single one of my children ~ which is incredibly scary because I do not have a single academically inclined child.  I have 2 whose intellectual ability is downright scary & one of them has absolutely no idea how to manage his life.

With an election looming in Queensland,  Education is once again in the spotlight.  There is lots of noise & pollies making promises that mean nothing & less than nothing because you cannot make people learn.  You cannot fix a problem by throwing money, & more money, at it.  You cannot motivate the intellectually able with standardised education because they have no interest in standardised anything.  Many become intellectually numb because most classrooms are beehives of boredom rather than centres of learning.

I do not have the answers.  I know we have got it very, very wrong.  One system is not going to fit every child.  It is not even going to fit *most* children ~ there being no such thing as the average child.  What I do know is that every child is gifted in their own way because God delights in diversity, in variables, in difference.  It is people who try & make one size fits all education.  I am not even convinced that there are certain things *everybody* should know.  What is important is that people know how to find out.

And here's a thought: probably the 2 greatest inventions of all time are fire & the wheel.  Both were invented by people who could neither read nor write & were unlikely to be able to count.  Makes you think, doesn't it?


seekingmyLord said...

Now you know, Ganeida, that the goal in schools is not to tailor the education to the child, but for children to fit into their educational program. That is just the way it is. For those who have no desire to fit, there is failure (to fit) or the alternative, homeschooling.

What is sad to me is how many homeschooling parents try to model the school at home, often using prepacked grade level curriculum in a box, and miss the blessing of God's direct guidance outside of the box.

Joluise said...

I know all about trying to fit a child into an education system when he didn't fit - round peg, square hole. I don't know the answer as I doubt there is one that will cater for all the different needs of children.

Julie said...

Math may not be your forte, but words and thought-provoking blog posts are. And may I say, you were an *adorable* little girl!

Sandra said...

I'm glad you came around to it, as you started by saying you aren't the "brightest caboose on the track'. Now, we all know that is not true!

Education is a complicated venture. I am not anti-public schools, but I do know that things can get off track. I had a very smart child and the school system he was in catered to these kids. I think maybe to the detriment of the others. It is difficult to be all things.

I think you found your way and we are happy you did. : )

Happy Elf Mom said...

Well, nowadays, my maths and science kid is not "gifted" because he doesn't answer maths problems in full sentences...

You are right, though, that there are brilliant people who don't test as such. Sounds like you're one of them. :)

Ganeida said...

Seeking: Nothing much changes, does it. We pull our kids out because the system sucks then impose the system at home because we have all been brainwashed to believe that this is what education looks like! Aaargh!

Joluise: Yes, been there, done that ~ several times. *sigh* Soooo frustrating!

Julie: lol Thank you. Actually I was long & gangly & had trouble making friends because my interests were a little ~ unusual.

Sandra: You son was luckier than most! I do think a lot depends on the child. Some children thrive in the sort of structure schools provide. Personally I think those kids are in the minority ~ but I've seen a lot of bad school, both public & private.

HEM: I'm not brilliant by any means but I used to teach a lot of really smart kids who were just plummeting through the cracks in the system.

As an aside, Star's favourite subject used to be math & she was very good at it. Then we got a supervisor who went ballistic over her lack of working out & accussed her of cheating. Star has never cared for math since ~ & she still refuses to show her working! lol

Ginger said...

I love both the wheel and fire. Both seem to be a necessary in my life. I love your blog and I am so glad I can bookmark it once again.

Ganeida said...

Ginger! It's been a while. NIce to see you round again. Will visit soon! ☺

Anonymous said...

Hi, Ganeida,
I have followed your blog for some time, and must tell you that I find it a bit of fresh air from all the "mommy blogs" littering the internet. I suppose what I am trying to convey, in my feeble manner, is that I appreciate a blog that appeals to the mind and soul and is not just another exercise in "how she (the blogger) does it all; cooking, gardening, homemaking, child-rearing, fashion, crafting etc... more beautifully than you". I hate to admit I am finding all of that so tiresome, especially with all I see occuring in the world and what I am sensing spiritually. Regarding education, it's a hot topic for me. Both my children are somewhat "atypical", my daughter is not academically inclined except in languages and history, but a creative and a "people-person" if there ever was one. My son is what you might call "self-taught", and has been from his toddlerhood, and is self-aware enough at 7 to know it. He goes to school only because my husband believes he needs it for social development and I have felt led by the Lord to defer to him in that department. He recently told his grandfather that school is "okay", but he prefers home because it's where he "gets to learn interesting things". For him just having unfettered access to books, the internet (of course carefully monitored), maps, charts, nature, is bliss. I cannot say it is not a struggle for me every school year, for I am not a fan of most everything about traditional schooling, something about the constant, fruitless striving to cram square pegs into round holes makes me shake my head.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha the world is watching, all these are just platitudes as we march to the grand scheme. Wait my comrades, as once Barack Obama is finished with dismantling the catholic church next on the list is home schooling. With the view that home schooling will be banned and classified as child abuse with the maximum penalty

Ganeida said...

Anon 1. Hi! ☺ Nice to *meet* you. Yes, we did this too because my Dearest felt our children needed the *socialization*. Ask him to define what he means by *socialization* because much school socialization is negative. More positive aspects of socialization can occur at home. We ended up pulling most of ours out thanks to their socialization!

Name? Or User Name? I do like to know to whom I am speaking! ☺

Anon 2: Well, I'm not an American so what Obama does or doesn't do won't affect me directly. Guess America will join the long list of countries HSALDA fights for homeschooler rights.

Megan said...

Hi, Ganeida! Anonymous #1 here, actually my name is Megan and yes, I concur it is best to know to whom we are speaking!:) My husband actually suffered quite a bit in school, constant bullying and put in remedial, "slow-learner" classes in grade school when he actually is one of the brightest minds I have met. He believes it will prepare and "toughen up" our son. My husband is an attorney, what can I say? It's a negative, rough-n-tumble business and he is world-weary. In my heart I disagree somewhat and have expressed as much, but feel in my spirit to defer to his judgement. That is not to say I am not praying that he will be led to more my way of thinking about this issue!:) In the meantime, we are trying to make our home as peaceful, and as stimulating for the mind and heart as possible.

Ganeida said...

Megan! One of my very favourite names! All is now explained. An attorny! I agree you are right to defer to his judgement. I was merely curious as to his position & that is now explained.