What I am about to pour into this blog post is information that I have always kept to myself and a very few people that are close to me.
When Lily was 6 years and 6 months old she was tested for the gifted program at her school at the request of her teachers. Since I had nothing to compare her to I thought she was an average kidlet who strived to do her very best all the time. Once the results were in I was called into a routine meeting to discuss her results with her teacher, the principal, the assistant principal and the Dade County school psychologist that had administered the test. Ms.V., the principal, looked at me and didn't say hello, she stood up and said, you are in trouble, in all my years in education I have never seen anything like this. Thankfully she said it with a smile as I had no idea where things were headed. Being in trouble with a principal is never good, ha ha.
It turned out that Lilipop breezed her test and the results showed that the child at 6 had a near genius I.Q. Long conversations ensued, and an IEP (individual education plan) was put in place Lily was moved to the gifted program and so it all began, the fun and games. A decision was made between us, to not discuss the results with her. She was little and very driven and we felt, with the agreement of all in that meeting, that this would be in her best interest. Knowing how smart she was would only drive her harder and harder and at an elementary level that was pointless.
Her K-8 always worked with her and me to put her where she needed to be. Skipping a couple of years in math, not even getting the basic building pre- algebra she was able to switch to algebra 4 weeks into a semester and fit right in. It was becoming obvious to her that she wasn't quite like most kids.
She isn't a sociable child at all. She has nothing in common with kids her age and her little group of friends are from her math classes where she was placed in 8th grade when she was in 6th. A fabulous little group of utter nerds, just like herself. I love having them at the house as they are all so very very sweet. It is hard to get Lily to go out and do things.
I put her in swimming for 3 reasons, (1) it was a sport and all kids need exercise and (2) I believed that this was something where she could free up her brain for a couple of hours each day and (3) for the social aspect. It all worked beautifully until she placed in a meet and received a ribbon. To her that was a sign to push herself hard, to be the best at swimming. She pushed like no other and within a few months was swimming in a much higher age group and even with a broken arm she was in the pool with a waterproof cast, pushing and pushing and pushing. Her coaches loved her. Her mother worried.
Every now and again as she worked her way up through elementary school she would encounter a teacher who strongly disliked her. I never paid it much attention as I have always taught the kids how to deal with people they don't like as life will be full of them and running away is not an option. I don't believe in changing teachers just because of a character clash. It has only happened 3 times and now with the help of her middle school teachers I realise that certain teachers are intimidated by her. It seems so absurd but the girl is a steel trap, you tell her something and she NEVER forgets, she can recall pages of books she read at 4. It is the craziest thing ever. Don't tell her a something you might later regret as she won't forget it or any of the details about that moment including what you were wearing. sigh.
We have a system in place here that allows a variety of high school choices, you don't have to attend your home school. Applying for the magnets with Lily was a very slow and laborious process yet at the same time she knew exactly what she wanted but she couldn't decide which school offered the best of it. Finally it was narrowed down. The school offered the moon and stars and actually started recruiting her. INSANE.
We were a mere few weeks into the first semester of High School and I could see a dramatic change in her personality. She was limp. We talked but she, " had got this". I let it go but watched sadly as she withered. Finally a few weeks before Christmas, in true Lily style, she exploded. I told her it would be and I would start the chain of command to see if she could bump up a few classes. I started at the bottom of the chain and then went to the lead teacher and counsellor for the Cambridge program.
I was told to let her be bored.
I was told that next year she won't be bored and she really isn't giving G Holmes Braddock Senior High School a chance.
So I went over her head and in the mean time was talking with her old principal and some of her teachers from her middle school and they would guide me where to go next and suggest options for her. I called the assistant principal, who was her swim coach before he was promoted and I am still waiting for him to return my call, 7 weeks later. I did manage to get a return call from the Head counsellor who one sentence in to the conversation reiterated the sentiment, let her be bored.
AND RIGHT THEN I KNEW WE WERE DONE.
I was so deeply saddened by their response and so very very thankful for my village. My girl needs, longs, desires to be challenged. I have to do what is best for her so after many conversations it was decided to let her home school. She will finish 9th grade and all of 10th by June and then come August she will dual enroll in high school and college and get her Associates degree and graduate early.
I went to her high school yesterday morning and withdrew her. I saw the head counsellor, she walked up to me and said: I see you have made up your mind, I think you are making a huge mistake. Thank you lady but the mistake was yours.
I had done as much of the preliminary work with regard to enrolling her in home school as was possible so yesterday when we got home we officially enrolled her. It will take about 3 days to get everything set. Girl is antsy and impatient and NEEDS to get started.
I have one job left to do with regard to her public education and that is to let the region know what I think of the high schools suggestion.
Oh and this is why I have always kept a tight lip on Lily's accomplishments, I have never wanted to sound like I am bragging. She is completely self motivated and I am incredibly grateful.
She recently found out about her IQ and the latest test proved what we all assumed, it has increased. She has an amazing gift and it is my job to see that she doesn't waste it. She owes it to the world to go out and share it in her own way.
Oh, and just to keep my on my toes Rosie came home last week and said the DR R. came into her classroom and talked to her teacher about getting her tested for gifted. WAHHHHHHH.
I will close by saying the biggest thank you to Rosell, Font and Virgin. Because of you, we can but without you we wouldn't and couldn't. much love.