the academic adventures of the brainiac

2 thoughts on “the academic adventures of the brainiac”

  1. Ohhh Stephanie!! You are in for a wild ride. I, too have one who is scary smart. In Kindergarten, he seemed to be having difficulty recognizing the numbers. The teacher sent home flashcards for me to use to help drill him with his numbers. I set the flashcards in random order down in front of him and asked him to make twelve. He plopped down an eight and a four in front of me. “No, Quinton. That’s not twelve. That’s…wait…it IS twelve, but you are adding!” This was the first quarter of school and the kindergarten class hadn’t even touched on addition and subtraction yet. This was not an accelerated program. There WERE no accelerated programs in our county. I was in trouble, in way over my head already and he had just barely begun. His preschool was more of the play and learn as you go kind of place, so where he learned to add and subtract was beyond me. He just figured it out on his own.
    Later that day he and his sister were playing school in the living room. She was trying to help teach him his letters, which the teacher also said he didn’t know. But when he was playing school with Shauna, he not only knew them all, but he was reading the words she wrote on the chalkboard. When she asked him why he didn’t let the teacher know he knew all these things, he said “I dunno. Its boring.”
    With all of the tact of a sibling, she replied “You retard! If you don’t show the teacher you know how to do this stuff then you’re gonna flunk Kindergarten and everyone’s gonna make fun of you!”

    He passed Kindergarten but still struggled with homework. Not only is he brilliant, he’s also ADHD, so sitting down to a homework assignment was such a struggle for him that I despaired of every getting him through school. I home schooled him for middle school and that seemed to work for us, but then we moved and I had to go back to working full time and he was launched in high school. What a nightmare that was! He barely passed ninth grade. Tenth grade came and he flunked it. We were half way through the second flunking of tenth grade when one of his teachers decided we needed a conference. She tried to explain to him the necessity of doing his homework, which was WHY he had flunked. He refused to do it. She told him that homework was to help him learn the information so that when he came in to take the test, he could get a good grade. His answer “But, I always get “A’s and “B’s on the tests without doing the homework, so why should I do the homework?” She didn’t have an answer for him. I was finally able to pull him out of that soul-sucking environment and get him to pass his GED and stuck him straight into college. He was sixteen. I took the risk, but I knew this boy needed the challenge. The first semester went about like I expected. He had to adjust to the new system, etc. His grades were passing, but barely. Next semester…he asked if I was going to go with him to sign up for classes. I told him. “No. This is YOUR education. Go take whatever classes you need to be what you want to be. Education isn’t something I’m trying to do TO you, its something I’m trying to do WITH you. Go, follow your instincts and take classes that inspire you.”
    He looked shocked and then asked me, “So, if I want to take three P.E. classes, you’d be ok with that?” “Yep. If you can get guidance to work three P.E credits into your PELL grant guidelines, you can take whatever you want to. This is YOUR life. Educate yourself for what YOU want to do. I’m stepping back and handing you the reins.” ”
    “Well, I’m not going to show you my grades anymore, then. ”
    “OK. They are YOUR grades. Earn them for yourself. Not me.”

    Inside I was cringing. I had just handed him a lot of power over his own life and he was only seventeen. But, he grabbed hold of it, and took off. He now has two Masters degrees and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Southeastern. He spent three years teaching abroad and now is working his own business, married to a Filipino girl he met while living there. We actually got through it in one piece, but it was difficult for a long time. I hope your ride is easier than mine was. Raising him was exhausting…and I had three others in the mix.
    Good luck, cuz!!

  2. Hey, you’re doing a good job, Steph. Now, it’s your turn to deal with brainiac children. Israel is a terrific almost-6-yr-old. His reaction to stupid, senseless problems reminds me of his Great-Grandpa Minor.

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