On Being Bored
It was 2 weeks before Christmas in December of 2011 the teacher called from the Catholic School to let us know that my oldest- age 13, my kid bright, funny, creative , artistic child was failing out of school. This was the 3rd school in 3 years mind you. The one we hoped would be the answer to our problems. The one that would make her happy. We were not really even looking for her to be academically stimulated at this point. That would have been too much to ask for. No. We just wanted her to be emotionally well and hopefully get through to high school.
I honestly did not see that phone call coming. I mean afterall, my kid who didn't know if she believed in God had a Rosary hanging on her bed, was playing on the school basketball team, and had a nice circle of friends. Heck, she seemed happy.
That day, the teacher called to say that my daughter had 4 F's and would I mind coming in for a meeting. This was so familiar to me and boy was I prepared. I sent a long email explaining underachieving gifted kids. At this point I had read the books, done some research and I had a pretty clear idea that she was bored but I still didn't really GET IT. I didn't get that thing I want to share with you on this blog. The thing that changed everything. You see I understood bored the way most of us do. Surely we have all heard the statement that some things in life are boring and well...you just have to do them.
Yeah, what I really didn't get was just how soul crushing, mind numbing and cruel it was to be sending that poor girl to school day after day to be taught things she already knew, to learn in ways that didn't light her up, by teachers who had no idea how to light a fire in her belly and help her learn. . No, I wasn't there just yet but I would soon be.
My son was made physically ill by the utter boredom of the fourth grade in a public elementary school. His illness disappeared when he began participating at age 10 in community college classes, first in math, and then, second semester, in both math and science. The ultimate result was his obtaining his BA two weeks after his 17th birthday; he went on a few years later to earn a PhD.
7/19/2017 08:30:07 pm
My son was visiting the nurse on average 2-3 times a week before we took him out of first grade. In one year he progressed through 3 grades of math and to a 9th grade reading comprehension. All we kept hearing from teachers were comments like "yes he had to wait 10 weeks to read his word list so the others could catch up," and "I don't have time to do anything extra for him". The mysterious illnesses stopped the day we left school to home school.
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