Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

The Boys of Summer

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“Nobody on the road /
nobody on the beach.”

– Don Henley, “The Boys of Summer”

There’s an interstitial period at the end of summer that I always forget about until it’s on top of us. Suddenly, the lines vanish, the traffic subsides to a manageable thirty-mile-per-hour level, and the sonic content of indoor activities drops to a whisper. Pools glass over, and deck chairs are abundant.

The Boys of Summer are gone.

For intense kids like ours, it’s a double bonus. Mine wear out eventually, the din of daycare camp kids running roughshod in the museum dulling their interest, the nineteenth Nerf football that errantly dings them in the head bringing pool days to a close earlier than they otherwise might. But when the Boys of Summer have gone, they’re given this magical two-week window of free rein, and I am blessed and lucky to see it.

What games might they play in an otherwise empty pool? How long would they stay to read museum placards explaining the trilobite’s role in the Devonian? What would a day look like for them in a world that – there’s no other analogy, really – has been neutron-bombed to their benefit?

The Boys of Summer depart at precisely the right time, too. It’s been a long summer of spinning plates for me – trying to give my clients exceptional service while giving the kids a summer of adventure and fun, both while not allowing the house to fall into utter entropy. That’s involved some sleight-of-hand in places – responding to an email or two* with a hand over my phone in the museum IMAX theater, or overseeing a pool day from the second-floor gazebo that happens to sit right atop the WiFi router. (Thank God). By this point in the summer, I’m usually tired, and what’s facing me down is the fact that we’re getting started in two weeks. Am I ready? Do I have Vonnegut’s voicing and character development predilections under control for E? Do I remember where H left off in sixth-grade math, and what her challenges were? Am I really ready to swapwrite about A’s Dungeons and Dragons character for months on end?

At precisely the same time this weary level of concern arrives, I pass the Boys of Summer on the way out, and I am reminded of why I do this: the pure fire of curiosity and passion that emerges in the quiet the Boys gift as as they go. Absent the pool din, the need to queue up to look at a model of a Titan IV rocket, the path-sharing on hikes and the raw entropy of Jump Street at its rainy-day worst, I can hear them again. Their questions, their discussions, their endless love of learning why and how.

They never left. They’re still the same passionate learners I said goodbye to, at some level, when I threw the switch into full-on Summer Dad Mode at the end of May. They’ve just been submerged in the summer chaos itself, their voices the bubbly blurble of shouting underwater at a pool under clear Colorado skies.

The only MARCO I hear now is theirs, and while I might not have said it even a week ago, as I sat in construction traffic, I am, indeed, ready with a POLO of my own.

Let the fall begin.

Soon.

But first…let me enjoy this.

Because the Boys of Summer are fun, but they’re raucous and exhausting, and by mid-August, I’m not sad to see them climb into their Deadhead-stickered Cadillacs and go.

_____________________________

* Five hundred fifty-seven

Intensity and Buzzards

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Our family finally finished The Weddings (both my sister and Dave’s sister got married in the first half of this year), and, after the last one was completed, we decided to go on a much-needed family vacation to Southwest Colorado. Dave and I lived in Cortez, Colorado for a while during residency and graduate school, and it is one of our favorite parts of the state; we were excited to share it with the kids for the first time. We started by visiting Mesa Verde for a few days – a guided morning tour of the mesa top sites, which finished up with a ranger tour of Cliff Palace. Watching our kids see the archaeological sites for the first time was wonderful – they were as awestruck by their majesty and intrigue as we were when we first toured them.

In the afternoon, we ventured over to one of the self-touring sites for a look around. Life with intense kids is a waiting game – the intensities can only be held in check for so long before they start to flourish again. Vacation with intense kids is no different. After everyone kept it together during the morning tours, Dave and I figured an unscheduled afternoon would work best. That way, the intellectual conversations, emotional exchanges, and predictable discomfort with clothing and shoes could happen on a backdrop of our own schedule, and be adjusted as needed.  After we finished the self-tour, I suggested we might consider a short (read: leisurely) hike into the canyon. We scouted the two hikes that can be done from the canyon floor: the Petroglyph Hike and the Spruce Canyon Hike.

The kids read about each hike on the sign, and E and A begged us to do the Petroglyph Hike. H was non-committal about either. Dave and I had previously done the hikes 20 years ago, and we hike a lot around Denver. It was around 90 degrees, but we had packed water for our trip into the canyon that day, so we committed to the hike, and H agreed to go along for the ride. The hike was supposed to take two hours round trip, and we only needed to be out of the canyon within four hours, so we figured we could make it easily. Plus, between the three of them talking incessantly and bouncing around, I thought an outlet for their psychomotor intensity was warranted.

We started up the steep climb of steps, H vanishing into the distance (her strategy was get the hike over with as soon as possible.) E and A hiked along at a brisk pace, exchanging conversation about video games and soccer. Dave and I followed behind, carrying the water in a pack, and marveling at how 20 years could go by. The hike was steep up and down, and went a long way into the canyon. By the time we reached the Petroglyphs, the kids were doing fine; Dave and I were hot, tired, cranky, and wishing we were 24 again.

We stopped and took a rest under the shade of an overhang. H had come back to the group, and the three kids were now running around, talking very loudly, and deeply immersed in an imaginative world of their own making. It’s one of those moments where I saw them for what they truly are: intelligent, complicated, intense humans that the universe produced into a society that isn’t quite sure what to do with them. Out here, though, in the expansive canyon, they could be themselves without restraint.

So Dave and I hiked – and grumbled – behind them. The climb from the top of the path up onto the canyon rim is a free climb up a rock face, with some strategically placed foot and hand holds. I tried not to think about what would happen if we fell. Once we were on the rim, we began the long, hot hike around the canyon rim back to the parking lot. Turkey vultures circled constantly overhead in the heat, reminding us to continue on. (More than once, we  joked that the kids should just leave us for the buzzards.) The kids encouraged us, engaged us, pulling us along with their words and questions. We finally reached the car, about two hours after we started. Air conditioning had never felt so good.

For Dave and I, the strenuous hike served to scrub off the grime from the first half of the year. We went from wrapping up our first full-time homeschooling year right into two family weddings (and replacing a broken dishwasher), all while keeping up both of our jobs at a brisk pace. Our own intensities were worn down, beaten under the heat, with buzzards circling overhead. The hike was a turning point, a rallying cry for the year. We both finished the hike, and the vacation, with a renewed feeling of intensity and purpose, thanks to our intense and resilient kids.

 

Unification

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So we’ve been a bit busy, as you can probably tell from the Gap That Was April. In that month, we had one out-of-town wedding, prep for another, taxes for home and business, two kid sports starting up, and the abrupt death of our faithful dishwasher. Forgiveness? Thanks. We’ll do better over the summer.

And speaking of, we looked up to find three weeks left on our homeschooling calendar. Just a double-dozen days of fitting everything in and we’ll be into the lazy – and welcome – days of summer. As I turned the calendar over, I started looking for a theme to the year – an overarching sense of mission, or purpose, or accomplishment, that I could find anchorage in. Was there something that tied it all together?

There was. But it was different for each of them.

For A, our five-intensity flathead V-8 made flesh, it was de-institutionalization. He’s had a workshirt and a nametag on for far too long, compared to the girls, and it was starting to show in a hundred little ways. But the most heartbreaking of them was his tendency to lean back, to wait for knowledge to be inserted or dispensed or otherwise given. He’s never been a taker of knowledge, and that changed this year. Slowly. Almost imperceptibly. But it changed. He’s looking now – for information, for inspiration, for meaning. He’s leaning forward, willing to participate, willing to work for his outcomes, rather than waiting for them to be served up – and it’s been wonderful to watch. I can’t wait to see how this plays out next year.

For H, our 2E emotional-intensive, it was comfort. For the entirety of her educational life, I’ve wished H a year to learn when she wasn’t concerned about hiding her disability, or worrying where it was going to surface next. I’ve wished her peace and unconditional support and the time and space to find what she is truly passionate about. This year provided all of that, and more, and it was a thing of absolute beauty to watch her learn to love history, to grow to want to improve her writing meaningfully, and – perhaps most importantly – to find a place to sit with math in comfortable silence, if not friendship. H needs space to find herself, to build something up from beneath her that will provide a platform for her to grow atop. She was never going to find that in a traditional school setting. It’s warmed my heart to see her find it here with us.

For E, our host child from the Crab Nebula, it was focus. E’s been guesting in the local GT program for the past two years, leading a split existence: two hours a day with me, on intensive writing and math and passion-project work, and then over to our local GT center school for some time being nine and ten, respectively. I wouldn’t begrudge her that time, looking back on it, but she’s grown more serious about having the time to pursue her passions, free of recess lineups and heat-lamp tater tots. This year was her opportunity to stretch out, to read everything she wanted to (even if – ahem – it was under the covers by flashlight), to stargaze the Perseids and sleep in the next day and work in her robe until noon. It was the year to show us the fire. She showed it to us, and its flame is beyond comprehension.

For me, it was spacing. Hockey coaches preach it like a mantra: motion, dispersed, active, aware. I learned to read them much better this year, to understand what it was they needed at any given moment. Sometimes, that was routine – the secure safety of the knowledge that tomorrow would parallel today, that what was asked of them on Tuesday would be asked of them on Thursday, too. Sometimes, though, it was disruption: that precisely the opposite was true.

So what do we do next year? Find a new theme. New focus. New energy. New tasks and architectures and ways of working. We build on what we found, keeping the best, discarding the rest. We move forward with a sense of passion and purpose.

But first, it’s time for a break. Because passion derives from the spaces between things – and it’s time for some between.

Why Words Matter: Intellectual Diversity

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We spent some time last night reading the flurry of blog posts and comments following another recent article describing how “all children are gifted.” It seems like this is an annual Internet discussion – something we all feel the need to talk about, with many of the same pro and con points made, year after year. Interestingly, we didn’t have the same visceral response this time that many of the parents did, on both sides of the argument, in large part because we don’t have to care anymore – we homeschool, and “gifted” is really a word we associate with traditional school.  We did, however, relate to the frustration felt by many about the ignorance regarding the diversity of intelligence. Based on reading the material, we’re wondering if we don’t need to have a different conversation entirely. At the core of that conversation is a definition. What does it mean to be smart, and who defines it?

When we were growing up (and granted, we’re pretty old), being smart was considered a positive attribute. It was understood that some kids were smarter than others, and that was OK. Everyone had different strengths, and for a small percentage of kids, that strength was being smart. Sometimes, the smart kids did well in school. Other times, they did not. Just like sometimes kids made the soccer team, and sometimes, they did not. It didn’t mean those kids weren’t good at soccer, it just meant they didn’t make the team. Everyone moved on, and learned from disappointment.

Ironically, “gifted” likely came to define smart kids because it was felt to carry less emotional baggage than the word “smart.” It might have been easier to hear from the mom down the street that little Susie was “gifted and talented,” rather than the plain fact that Susie was smart. That way, when you told that same mom how your little Johnny made the Little League team, it felt more fair. In the interim, though, the word “gifted” has become just as – if not more so – emotionally charged.

Currently, if your children are attending school, the definition of smart is “gifted.” The words have become synonymous, to our collective detriment. Many parents spend hours working with the school and advocating on their children’s behalf to get appropriate instruction arranged. For these parents, the “gifted” program is just a starting point, because many of their children need much, much more then they are given. Unfortunately, there are other parents who feel that getting their child into the “gifted” program at school is a ticket their child’s success. In the minds of these parents, the “gifted” program will lead directly to honors classes, AP classes, top-tier colleges, and top-tier graduate schools, ultimately culminating in the parent being able to tell everyone their child is a ______ (insert name of brag-worthy profession here.) These parents, as far as we can tell, don’t seem to care if their kids are smart. They just want their kids to have a chance at what the kids in the gifted program “get.”

So that’s one issue, and we’ve seen it in practice. But there’s a second issue that’s more problematic: some parents also don’t want any one child being smarter than any other child. For them, being smart has become a negative attribute, an elitist and imaginary point of differentiation among equals. Smart kids are expected to hide the depth of their intelligence, because it might make other kids feel bad about themselves. Realistically, though, some individuals are just smarter than others, just like some individuals are more athletic/artistic/musical/creative/expressionistic than others.  We think it’s best to let these parents live in their imagined world of equality. Sooner or later, despite their parent’s insistence, their kids will figure out the truth of life – that there is always someone smarter than you.

And thank goodness for that.

Kathy notes that as an internal medicine physician, she works in a world of generally smart people. Physicians and other health professionals generally have a higher IQ than the average population. As a subset, specialist physicians have the highest IQ of all those groups. When she refers a patient for a specialist consultation, she is counting on the specialist physician being smarter and more experienced with the condition than she is. This is true of many other professions as well. When we cross a bridge in our car, we are counting on the fact that the engineer who designed the bridge was smarter than us, and knew a great deal more about bridge-building. We feel the same when we get into an airplane – we trust that the pilot is smarter than us when it comes to flying a plane. Sunday evenings, we are all thankful that Neil DeGrasse Tyson is vastly more intelligent about the Cosmos, so he can teach it to us. Frankly, we love the fact that there are many individuals in this world who are smarter than ourselves.

So we exist on a continuum of intelligence. Great. Where does that leave us? We’ve discussed that “gifted” really applies to school services, not necessarily being smart. And, we’ve discussed that there are times in life where we are all going to need people more intelligent than ourselves. So back to the original question – what does it mean to be smart, and who defines it?

The fact is, all parents think their kids are smart, and this is a wonderful part about parenting. We wouldn’t want any child growing up with a parent telling them they are not smart. As long as a parent values a child for who they are, it doesn’t matter what society says; they will feel loved, valued and smart. However, telling your child they are as smart as every other child in the world doesn’t let them accept the reality of the diversity of intelligence. Does that mean you need to tell your child their IQ? Not if you don’t want to, or if you think that information would not be helpful to them. What we tell our children are three things: we know they are smart, there are lots of people out there who are smarter than them, and we encourage them to seek out individuals who are their same level of intelligence and share their same interests, so they can feel someone understands them, and feel that they belong.

Who defines smart? Mensa, a society for people with high IQs, has one definition of smart. According to their website, to qualify for Mensa, you must have scored in the top 2% of the general population on a standardized intelligence test. They state that members come from all walks of life, and they share one trait – high intelligence.  If we use the Mensa definition, then 2% of the child population has high intelligence, and 2% of the adult population has high intelligence. If we use an alternate definition, for instance individuals who scored in the top 0.1% of the general population on a standardized intelligence test, then the definition changes. How do we know? Because we’re using an established population statistic; we’re measuring against societal norms.

By our definition above, we are both highly intelligent people, and we have highly intelligent kids. That high intelligence, however, comes with a basket of intensities that makes life with us hard and incredibly interesting. Our kids do not conform to much of what has become the societal vision of “gifted” children – quiet, studious, industrious, well-behaved children who are all “plus” and no “minus” from a human behavioral perspective. Because we homeschool, we don’t have to worry about how society, or school, labels our kids. We don’t hide the fact that we have high intelligence, and we don’t expect our kids to hide it, either. In our world, being smart is a positive attribute, and finding others at our own intelligence level – and higher! – is a wonderful part of life.

“Gifted,” as we’ve written about before, is a burned word. We’ll never unload the emotional freight from it; it’s simply become so electrified a third rail as to be unrecoverable in the conversation. We applaud the advocates who continue to help educate the public about the diversity of intelligence, and how it affects parents every day. Frankly, though, we’re not going to spend our time trying to define the word “gifted” to everyone who asks about our children.  When those moments occur, we’ll simply state the facts: that we have children with high intelligence. We figure if anyone stays around to ask us what that means, then we can start a meaningful conversation. Until then, we’ll be exploring our world, and anxiously awaiting the next installation of Cosmos.

Tiny Green Shoots

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A homeschooling year is a great deal like writing a book: there comes a day when you realize that, barring some asteroid strike-level cataclysm, you really are going to finish it. It’s going to come to a conclusion of some type. You’re over the hump.

I’m feeling it right now. I’m a seasonal person. I tend to enjoy the living hell out of the first month of any season, accept the second with grace, and volunteer to pack its suitcase and drive it to the airport by the third. So when I see tiny green shoots emerge from beneath the snow in our garden, it dawns on me. Spring is here. Oh, it will still be a snowy horrorshow here in Colorado from time to time, but the seventies are going to make a guest appearance this week, and the shorts are going to come out of the closet.

What does it mean for us to be on final descent into the summer capping our first year of full-time homeschooling? It’s a great time to look back and think about what happened, and what didn’t.

Nobody freaked. Nobody. I was thinking someone would (Vegas odds were on me), but it just…didn’t happen. No one threw a rod that they weren’t taking part in any traditional-school stuff; we did our own versions of Halloween and Valentine’s Day, and Christmas was probably more fun for them (especially given that they each had a tiny USB-powered Christmas tree for the month of December). Nobody pitched a fit that we were doing things differently, not even our newest arrival, A.

Everyone grew. You’d hope they would, in a year, wouldn’t you? But in years past, by this point in the calendar year, there’s been trudging. There’s been grudging. There’s been I’m-not-budging. We’ve watched the lights go out by the time TCAP rolled around, watched them tilt slowly off their toes in their education and back onto their heels. The juice has been sucked from the orange. Not this year. It’s March, and they’re still designing social studies projects with the same vigor they were in October. They’re still throwing themselves into swapwriting with the same creativity and collaboration they had when we were outside, WiFi hotspot-writing under the huge tree on our greenbelt path in September. They’ve even – dare I say it – come to peace with the subjects they don’t like. Historically, by this point, those subjects were out on a plank with a cutlass in their backs.

Our definition of ‘school’ expanded. School ‘went’ a lot of different places this year – on long walks, on bike rides, on museum trips, on park afternoons. Everywhere we went, we talked, Googled, learned. School is a construct of geographic convenience: kids are gathered together in one place not because it’s the world’s greatest learning model, but because it makes sense to centralize something that’s traditionally dispensed one-to-many. Take that factor out of the equation, and what we’ve learned is that school is everywhere that curiosity exists.

Our love for each other did, too. You don’t see much of your kid in an educational setting in life until you work with them in a homeschooling environment, and I wish everyone could see what we’ve seen this year. It’s funny: there’s ‘take your child to work day,’ where we provide our kids with a window on what we do in our jobs, but there’s really not a ‘take your parent to school day.’ Sure, there’s volunteering opportunities, and parent-teacher conferences, and such – but how often do you get to see your kids at their jobs? I love what I’ve seen from them this year – they’re focused, diligent, caring, collaborative workers that want to learn, want to grow. I love them all the more for that.

It’s easy to forget, in the depths of winter, that green shoots are coming. It’s almost impossible to conceive of the true arrival of a new season until it’s upon us. We’re going to do this – and next year, we’re going to do it again, and we’ll learn new lessons next year, too.

I’m glad for the tiny green shoots, though. They remind me, in no uncertain terms, that this year’s particular voyage is nearing its end, and to enjoy every moment of life and growth that the spring will bring us.

Change is In the Air

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Winter, particularly once the novelty of a new year has worn off, often brings with it a dull ache of familiarity. The holidays have been and gone, and there’s a profound sense of settling back into a routine – and that, left alone, can begin to rob any homeschooling family of a sense of energy and engagement. Momentum and motivation can start to fade, and there’s a temptation to start shortening the day, plowing through the essentials with a sense of duty rather than purpose.

Our house is no different. The girls’ birthdays are in February, and we can both feel the emotional runup to their big day, and we both dread the vacuum that lies beyond it. This is our first year of full-time homeschooling, but we’ve already seen a few points in the year when it’s important to have some tricks in the bag to keep the kids pointed in the right direction. Here’s a few of our favorites.

Change the venue. Homeschooling doesn’t always have to be education at home; in fact, by definition, it’s really ‘education not confined to any particular place.’ One of our favorite new changeup days has been a combination remote-homeschooling/educational outing – swapwriting in the atrium at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (our view was the image above), followed by a planetarium show and some exhibit tours, or doing math on the go at a favorite park and then taking a walk to the library to find books on our social studies topic. Our philosophy is very tech-inclusive, so really anyplace we can get a clear wifi signal for a hotspot lets us get productive work done.

Change the medium. Everyone, regardless of age, wears out on the same content being served through the same format day after week after month after year. Listening to lectures, watching videos, working on paper, and using traditional tools gets old. That’s why we’re constantly on the hunt for interesting new things to vary the content medium – whether that’s giving a subject matter expert the floor in teaching a particular concept, or swapping out a straightforward iPad calculator for something like Tydiig, or changing up the projects they do in social studies. (Moviemaking? Cooking and baking? Outdoor games? Sure.)

Change the schedule. We all love schedules – they sort out the day, make sense of the week, and let us plan ahead. But there are days that science is going to be met with sleepy stares first thing in the morning, or math is just too much to ask by one in the afternoon. Change it around. Or split a subject over two days, or even three, if it’s not taking hold in the first go-round.  Twenty minutes of math three times in a day will do most of what a solid hour’s worth will do, and it might help you hurdle something unwelcome or thorny.  Nothing’s going to break – promise! – and you’re showing your kids that you’re willing to build the day around their energies and interests once in a while.

Change your expectations. No one makes linear progress in everything from day to day. Energy levels wax and wane throughout the day, throughout the month, throughout the year. Yours do, too, by the way – so make sure your kids aren’t picking up any lack of motivation on your part by doing everything you can to keep yourself motivated and engaged. More importantly, let the energy go where it’s going to go. Keep an eye on it – but realize that your expectations make up a significant portion of how you feel the homeschooling process is going.

In our experience, the most important factor in managing motivation and engagement is a willingness to gather data by the day and act by the week, instead of reacting to each hour as it goes by. Keep a log or journal of your thoughts on each day while you’re experiencing motivation concern; if days go by and you’re not seeing any improvement, pick one of the other changes discussed above and give it a try. If none of them help, perhaps it’s time for bigger changes. Spring road trip?

This Post is part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February Blog Hop on “Staying Motivated Throughout the Homeschool Year.” Check out the other posts! http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/?p=3285

Feb 2014 Blog Hop Graphic

Adjusting the Plan

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I was flipping through channels on Sunday while the Super Bowl was on (being from Denver, it was unwatchable), and came across The Adjustment Bureau on the SyFy channel. Dave and I saw the movie while it was in theaters, and really liked it, so I watched it again to cure my Super Bowl blues.

For those of you who have not seen it, The Adjustment Bureau is not a revolutionary movie idea (it borrows from The Matrix and Dark City, among others), but it is a well-acted science fiction story about a New York couple, David and Elise (played by Matt Damon and Emily Blount) who feel they are meant to be together, but are secretly being kept apart by members of “The Adjustment Bureau” because it’s not part of “The Plan.” Early on in the movie, David inadvertently finds out about The Plan, and, as the movie unfolds, the Bureau members reveal to David the reason he is kept from Elise: apart, he will go onto become President of the United States, and she will go onto become a famous dancer and choreographer. Together, however, they will fill each other’s voids; David will not become President, and Elise will teach dance lessons to 6-year-olds. David has to make a choice about whether to leave Elise alone so she can fulfill her dreams (and he his), or be together with her, and have their dreams altered. Eventually, they decide to stay together, and The Plan is altered by the Bureau.

The first time I saw it, I was emotionally drawn to the scenes between David and Emily. It reminded me of how I felt when Dave and I met: we were instantly drawn to one another, as though we had found a soul mate. Later, I recognized this as both physical and intellectual attraction: gifted young adults, in our early 20s, who had never really met anyone like ourselves. That attraction has stayed strong 23+ years now, and it is still the basis of why we like to be around one another as much as possible. The choice the movie presented to David was never a choice in my mind: I would have chosen to be together, no matter the cost to careers or fame.

What interested me most, though, was my reaction the second time I saw the movie. During the movie, the Bureau members use doorways to move around the city; when they are wearing a special hat (I know, corny), they can open a doorway and move large distances within the city. At one point, David is wearing one of the special hats, grabs Elise, and they open a door from a random bathroom in an attempt to escape. The doorway opens into Yankee Stadium, with green grass and blue sky, and Elise is at once thrilled, terrified, and confused.

I was reflecting on our last 3 years, and how that one doorway opening is one of the few visual representations I’ve seen that accurately conveys the intellectual and emotional intensity of raising highly/profoundly gifted kids. Each doorway we open – sometimes looking for a way out – is a jarring awakening that we are not on a regular journey. We think the kids are headed off to school, but through the door is a full-time gifted program at a different school. We think the kids are continuing in the gifted program, but through the successive doors are grade-skips, part-time homeschooling, and full-time homeschooling. The rules (if indeed there are any) are altered, the outcomes unpredictable. It feels thrilling, terrifying, and confusing all at once. We’ve gotten more used to it now, opening doorways into uncertain places, and wandering around when we get there. But the visceral, emotional feeling when you think you’re headed into the grocery store, and instead you end up on top of a building, never goes away. It’s an endless cycle of sudden disorientation, finding our way, and heading forth.

The one thing that didn’t change when I watched to movie, however, was my feeling that no matter what, it’s all better when we’re together. We are drawn to each other, my family and I, as we walk through each door together; gasping in awe, laughing, and looking for the next one to open.