Ever read books not assigned to you in class? Write about them on your blog? Or maybe read about books on other people's blogs? If so (and of course it is so, since you are reading this book review), consider yourself officially gifted.
Lisa Rivero is one of my homeschooling gurus. Her early book, Creative Home Schooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families, is full of ideas and insights which have shaped my family's experiences as my son has grown from a brilliant and kind small boy into a brilliant and (mostly) kind young man. Her newest book, A Parent's Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense and Creative Adolescents, is not about homeschooling per se. Instead, Rivero attempts in her newest book to help parents deal with the difficulties that their gifted children may present to them.
I wrote a post not that long ago about the books I read in preparation for my son's upcoming homeschooling year--and I want to assure those of you who have absolutely no interest in this subject that I have no intention of letting this blog become a homeschooling blog.*
I hesitate to use the word "gifted" at all since it has such negative meanings in popular culture. It sounds like bragging. Many of us who love learning (pretty much one of the definitions of gifted) have been taught not to brag about what comes to us more from the combination of good genes and good opportunities than from personal hard work. Many people believe the word "gifted" is a label only adopted by people who want to set themselves off as better than others. But that is not at all the truth which Rivero is trying to talk about.
What I love most about Rivero's work is her exploration of the way that giftedness is no sign of superiority. Instead, it is a sign of difference, of weirdness, even (at least in experience) of abnormality: "I have heard more than one parent complain that it is tempting to say that his child suffers from giftedness rather than he is gifted. Maybe this helps to explain how hard it can be, for both child and parent. People who insist that being gifted is a walk in the park don't understand that the park, while beautiful and extensive, is also wild, often pathless, and filled with brambles."
The "unpath" through the brambles of the park can lead us through that darkness and into a place of growth. That is exactly what I am learning--through the experience of homeschooling a gifted child, as well as through this project and its accompanying blog. Summer has been a time when I've let go of the practice of both, to some degree. Now--as the Jewish High Holidays come and autumn starts to seem real--is our time to reenter growth: mine, my son's, and the growth we do together.
*If you found this post because of your interest in homeschooling, or if you are fascinated by the experience of having a gifted student at home full time, you might be interested in checking out my 12yo son's blog about his experiences growing up homeschooling: The Education of a Young Man. As of now, he posts extremely irregularly. Learning to write is one of his educational goals this year, so things may pick up.