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Jaybee

s/o achievements and excelling academically

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I've been thinking about these threads a lot the past few days, and started several times to respond. But I always ended up deleting because it didn't really reflect my thoughts. Which go something like this:

I have a particular ds who is quite smart. He isn't pg, and maybe not hg, but if you met him and talked to him for a bit, you would be impressed by his manner, his general knowledge, and his maturity. Every time dh and I watch him handle a q&a with someone, or see how he advocates for himself with people who have positions to give him opportunities, he blows our socks off (and we wonder where in the world he gets that). Okay, so I typed out some of the unusual things that he has done, along with the opportunities that he has been offered, but just deleted it because I don't want to be that specific online. Suffice it to say, he is a kid who makes things happen for himself. He is a strong introvert, but has confidence and knows his own mind. In fact, dh and I often run things by him because he has a lot of wisdom and insight.

Anyway, I guess the heart of my musing is this: He flourishes with low pressure. Every time I have been tempted to ramp things up for him, it backfires. But if I lay low, he soars. It isn't a rebellion thing, but it is definitely the way his personality works. For high school, we used a 'get 'er done' kind of curriculum. It was strong but basic, without a lot of frills and thrills. However, that gave him time for his creative pursuits. After his schoolwork was done, he read books, he wrote notes on them, he experimented, he learned, he made opportunities happen, he researched, and all on his own initiative. What we did? We bought books that he asked for. And accepted it (most of the time) when he didn't want to do activities that we suggested. 

I'm not sure where I am going with this. Maybe I just want to say that if you have a kid like this, and you are frustrated because you know that are capable of so much--and they aren't responding to your guidance, that maybe you should take another look at who they are. Of course, I didn't know he was going to turn out this way. We used the 'get 'er done' curriculum because I was tired and we were in a financial pinch, so we couldn't afford what I would have chosen otherwise. There were people who helped him financially to attend a series of conferences. Anyway, I don't know how to end this. Just musing...

More isn't always better. Even to the university level. He has chosen a uni that is very small, but it has the field he wants, and he already has been offered things there that he would be hard pressed to get to do at a large uni. Plus, he is experimenting again with new opportunities. 

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You son sounds like my younger daughter.

It has been a long process to accept she isn't going to be an outstanding student.  She started out way ahead of the curve, but she has zero interest in doing any academic work that isn't required.  Or domestic work for that matter.  That said, she has read thousands of books for fun.  And she always has some kind of project going - often many projects at once - engineering, writing, cooking, social event planning ....  And she has a great sense of humor.  I really have no idea what she is going to be when she grows up, but at the same time, I don't worry about her.

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I understand why you don't worry--sometimes the ingeniousness is in a different form, and in the well-roundedness. I have one who isn't a great student due to a learning disability, but he works hard, makes friends everywhere he goes, laughs a lot and loudly, and everybody and his brother knows him (and most like him, lol). I worry about paying for college for him, but I don't really worry about him succeeding in life and relationships. ETA: Your daughter sounds fun and delightful, SKL!

As for the above ds, he is a good student. He got a very nice merit scholarship, plus won another one-time one in a specialized national contest, and then talked admissions into a good yearly grant. He keeps being offered internships (which he can't currently take advantage of, but maybe later). He just goes a different path to get to these places. He is in a creative field, and it's like lowering the pressure has a direct positive impact on the flow of his creative juices, lol.

ETA: If this come across too braggy, I apologize. I don't really mean it to be a prideful thing. My focus is on the fact that my tendency would naturally be, "You are smart, so you should take the most of these classes and these, and do this and this and this, in order to maximize your potential. and then you should go to this school where you will be challenged and expectations will be high for you so that you will excel by trying to reach those expectations." Which would cause my ds to shrivel up and die inside, as well as be so stressed that he would be difficult to live with.

Edited by Jaybee
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I have some very... “difficult” students in my house. They’ve been making me question my ability to educate them for the past dozen years. They’re far from perfect, but the older ones highly regarded in the community, adored by their bosses, sought out by other adults for various help, and have admirable career goals they’re actively working toward. 

None of those things have ever come from being pushed by me. Really, it’s all in spite of the beautiful academic plans I fought to implement for so long. And that’s what caused me to shift to a much more relaxed, nearly un-schooled approach for the younger ones.

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Yes--I can't tell you how many times that "teach the kid you've got" phrase has pulled me through. But oh, the lovely books and curriculum we never used...😂 I still sometimes look longingly and wishfully at it, especially when I hear how beautifully those "academic plans" worked for others. Oh, well, I'm thankful God protected my son from me, lol, and didn't allow me to squelch his joy and love for his passion.

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Jaybee, thank you so much for your posts. I feel as if I could have written them. DS is in 9th grade and he's a really delightful, friendly, optimistic kid. I often have to tamp down my wants for him because he's completely capable of high academic success but he wants to go into a field where it's not needed as much. I constantly have to talk to myself about what's important, especially when grandparents or friends start asking about academic plans. 

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In a similar vein, I've come to the realization with my oldest daughter that she does best when she is not pushed and with school work that is a bit on the easy side. She is highly internally motivated for one thing and hates to fail, she's better off with something easy that she can crush, she'll go above and beyond (unlike my son who thrived on challenge). Just like me she likes picking her own goals to work towards and she likes to have plenty of time to work on them. I try to focus on skills and continually improving but keep in mind the kid in front of me and not what I think she should do. It is hard to sit back and let them follow their passions and figure out what they want to do, especially when you are a slight control freak but I see her growing and maturing into a thoughtful and kind young lady who looks for opportunities to make a difference and lead others. 

Your post is a great reminder, look at your own kid, there are many facets to education, and there is more to life than how smart you are.

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My gifted kid wants to be a mechanic, and that's about all he's interested in for a career. That always gets some interesting responses--people immediately mention engineering instead, lol. He also thrives on downtime, and he was MADE for hands-on work. Maybe that will change, but if so, it will still be the hands-on things that have matured him and given him joy up to that point. He recently completed testing for the local vocational school (he'll go PT and take his academics at home), and he broke a record for one of the assembly tasks. We don't know any of the results yet to know if something besides cars shows up as a distant second (it was a combo or aptitude and interest testing).

He has some exceptionalities that make academics quirky, but I am not sure that makes a difference in his choice. He's been oriented to cars and tools since before he could use full sentences. 

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On 9/6/2019 at 3:43 PM, SKL said:

You son sounds like my younger daughter.

It has been a long process to accept she isn't going to be an outstanding student.  She started out way ahead of the curve, but she has zero interest in doing any academic work that isn't required.  Or domestic work for that matter.  That said, she has read thousands of books for fun.  And she always has some kind of project going - often many projects at once - engineering, writing, cooking, social event planning ....  And she has a great sense of humor.  I really have no idea what she is going to be when she grows up, but at the same time, I don't worry about her.

 

6 hours ago, kbutton said:

My gifted kid wants to be a mechanic, and that's about all he's interested in for a career. That always gets some interesting responses--people immediately mention engineering instead, lol. He also thrives on downtime, and he was MADE for hands-on work. Maybe that will change, but if so, it will still be the hands-on things that have matured him and given him joy up to that point. He recently completed testing for the local vocational school (he'll go PT and take his academics at home), and he broke a record for one of the assembly tasks. We don't know any of the results yet to know if something besides cars shows up as a distant second (it was a combo or aptitude and interest testing).

He has some exceptionalities that make academics quirky, but I am not sure that makes a difference in his choice. He's been oriented to cars and tools since before he could use full sentences. 

Man this is me! I thrive in low pressure environments. Too much stress and I shut down. Lots of "free" time and I take on all sorts of projects, and love to learn about a ton of stuff. i'm constantly researching things  - all sorts of things. But HATED school. I hate busy work. I hate working for other people. But I'll read and research or do a project of my own choosing for hours and hours and hours. My passion is animals, but I am also a writer, and love lawn care, and am learning cake decorating, and homeschooling, and so many things. 

But regular old academics? Blech. Grades are not a "reason" to do stuff in my brain I guess. 

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