Thursday, February 16, 2012

The great debate

Heads up: This is long.  If you like to read and enjoy a good debate, this is for you. Read only if you must.

Deep prayer and years of frustration with the little boy that I love most in this entire world has brought me to the greatest debate of my life.

He's smart and complicated. He lives in his own little world. God love his teachers for putting up with him but I'm kinda over them all. Yes, they do start out trying to meet his needs but it all ends the same. They give up on him half way through the year. Truth is, I honestly can't blame them. He's a tough pill to swallow.

We are 2 years into DI (Destination Imagination) and HAL (High Ability Learner) and they are not helping. Wouldn't life be simple if your child worked hard for good grades, achieved them, and got proud of himself for doing so? Not his guy.

In his head he will never measure up, never be good enough, be the dumbest kid in class (even when he has straight A's), have no friends (also not true), and will always ALWAYS hate school. But one thing IS true: He loves to learn. He frickn' LOVES to learn. Books, books, books, and more books. He will read until his eyes pop out and if he comes across a word he doesn't know? Simple. He reaches over to the encyclopedia that he sleeps with and looks it up. Duh! Don't you?

A teacher friend best friend of mine once told me that its my job for the rest of my life to teach his teachers how to teach him. If you are reading this JuJu, thanks for opening my eyes to the importance of getting to know my gifted child.  This is slightly annoying because I can only explain so much in the short time I have.  It's frustrating as a mother to sit back and watch someone else deal with your kid completely wrong.  Sammy is such a difficult child to deal with that sometimes it takes unconditional love that only a mother has.  You feel me?

He doesn't think like his peers. Programs that were created for kids like Sam are starting to make him mad. Why? In a nut shell, because other kids are there. His words: "I can't follow their ideas so I just zone out."


A book I read called "Raising your Gifted Child" claims that the qualities sometimes mirror autism. He is academically ahead and socially behind. His overstimulated brain is trapped in a socially awkward body. He doesn't understand simplicity. If you want to reach his brain, the more complicated the better.  If you want to reach his heart, take him to the bookstore.  He has a near photographic memory but struggles to order his own food at a restaurant. It's Awesome.


Here is something I read in an article called "Gifted Kids, Bad Behavior."

"One of the big myths about gifted children is that they are well-behaved teachers' pets. Many get bored in class, and while some bored children just get quiet, others act out or call attention to the fact that they find class boring. Some whose social skills are less well developed may ask obnoxious questions, call the teacher or other students "dumb" and otherwise make general pains of themselves. It's hard to imagine anything more annoying than a kid who persists in humming while other children are trying to work."

That's my boy! Tap tap tap tap. Knock knock knock knock. Whistle whistle humm humm. Kill me now.

So here's the debate.

I need one simple solution. I just wanted something that fixes everything wrong and enhances everything good. Something that takes the distractions away and fills his brain with positive loving education. Something that I will look back on when he's all grown up and smile because I KNEW I gave him everything I could. Something that will make him feel good about who he is. Something that will help him find himself rather than try to fit into someone he's not. After several painful weeks of crying out for help in this area, I've come to the conclusion that ONE simple solution does not exist.

The topic of Home School has been popping up in my life for 2 years now. I usually laugh it off and say "not for me. Thanks though. What's plan B?" After lots of tears and extra strong convictions I finally started taking it into serious consideration. Maybe that's all God wanted me to do. Just put my pride aside and focus on what is going to help Sammy. Who knows. I wish I did.

We are currently weighing all our options and taking every little detail into deep consideration. Like I said, he just doesn't learn like others. It took me 3 years to figure that out, 5 years to accept it, and I don't want to waist 1 more dwelling on it.  Every time I said "NO" to homeschooling and followed up with a good reason why, that reason is immediately confirmed to be neither here nor there.

Example: I fear he is already smarter than me. No worries.  A kid like Sam basically teaches himself with these programs all laid out for him.  I was told if I can read, I can teach.

Example: I worry that he will not be involved socially and always struggle around his peers. No contrare my friend, there is an overwhelming amount of social environments with amazing and wonderful kids in our city. 

I realize now that some kids are just cut out for this style of learning. Holly would die without her friends. She NEEDS school. I get her. When I was a kid I always felt sorry for home school kids. I mean, the only cool part of school is being with your friends!  Yes, Gage, I was one of those kids.  For Sammy, the distraction of his peers and the awkwardness of trying to fit in are actually hurting his education. I've never been more convinced of that as I am right now.

I said we are taking Homeschooling into CON-SID-ER-A-TION but leaning towards HELL NO.  Right now we have lots of helpful ideas for him while in school but no permanent answers.  Yet. He has a great teacher, principle, and school counselor that care deeply for him and his education.  I'm very thankful for them.  Gage and I are giving this one to God while continuing to do our research on this topic. I'm sure everyone has their own strong opinion one way or another. I'm done complaining about the punks in his class and the lack of focus he has in school. After conferences with his teacher last week I realize his current grades and behavior are a cry for help.  It's hard to paint a full picture of who Sammy is.  He does not have ADHD nor does he act like someone who does.  He's actually extremely calm.  Most of the time.  He has an explosive temper but has gotten much better.  He's shy.  He's polite.  He's VERY tender hearted.  He's not a sneaky kid at all. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and couldn't keep a secret from us if he tried with every cell of his being. I love that about him.  I mean he literally doesn't even get a drink of water without asking.

No, we are not Drill Sergeant parents.  Trust.   Have you met Holly?  That's just Sammy's heart.

Back to the debate...
It has been consuming my every thought for weeks.  Maybe just 5th grade? Maybe only Middle School? Maybe just a little summer school at home? Maybe this idea all together is crazy?  Defiantly homeschooling!  No way homeschooling!  I can do it.  I can't do it.  He needs to be home with me.  He needs his friends.  He needs more structure at home.  He needs Valentine parties at school!  One thing we know for sure is that we are going to do everything in our power to build him up into the amazing person God intends him to be. Smart, strong, and confident Sammy Cobb.  The past few weeks have been eye openers for Gage and I.  We can do this.  Whatever "this" is.  I'm excited for his future.

We have definite concerns either way. We don't want to devastate him socially. Honestly, that could happen if we take him OUT of school OR leave him in. It's the constant battle in mind. 24/7. He's so smart and I know he would thrive on learning at his pace. He would eat it up. That part only excites me.

The great Sambino has high hopes for his future and so do I. He plans on playing baseball in High School and being a professional drummer, as well as professional athlete.  (!)  He wants to be a husband someday and have of a son of his own so he can name him Bob. Bob Cobb. He always was a big dreamer.  It's my duty as his mother to bring out the best in him and to believe in his dreams.  

If I didn't bore you to death you can look forward to more posts on his progress and our ultimate decision for this next chapter of our lives.  This was healing for me.  Thanks for reading. 

This video just made me laugh.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Missy this was so well written, your concerns and more importantly, LOVE, for him is very evident and just pours out thru your words. It actually brought me to tears; I really wish I had 'the' answer for you. Trust me when I say I understand your frustrations...We're dealing with our own school struggles here too with my son who does have ADHD. We're still searching for our own answers. All I can really say, like your friend has already mentioned just continue to keep advocating for him...YOU know him best :) AND lastly PRAY! (which from reading, I know you're already doing.) We know God is good all the time and as unclear as it may seem right now, He does have a plan for Sam. It's just the in between time can be difficult to get thru.
    I will pray that He allows that plan to be known sooner than later.

    Know also that Sam has an amazing're doing great!