A Parent’s Perspective
by Jennifer Morris
We knew early on that our oldest child was gifted. She was accelerated in her reading and verbal skills to such a point that she would rather have conversations with adults than with kids her own age. She grasped new concepts quickly and completed course work in the first 10 to 15 minutes of class. On her last nationally standardized test, she made a perfect score on the math portion.
Along with the typical markers of giftedness, she also had anxiety about school and dealing with children her own age. She hated group work, as she often felt she did all of the work. Also, since all of her work was relatively easy, she never encountered difficult material that forced her to stretch and grow. This led to a fear that if something was difficult, it must mean she was not capable of accomplishing the task. She suffered from migraines and nausea during the school year. As she got older, she found school frustrating to the point of being in tears.
We found ourselves in a situation where there were not adequate services to keep up with her need. The traditional school model was holding her back from her potential both to excel and to challenge her to the point of building the grit necessary to successfully navigate the adult world. We explored private schools in our area, being willing to do whatever it took to find the right educational fit, but their models were replicas of what we found in the public schools.
Feeling we did not have any other option, I made the choice to step out of my career and begin to homeschool her as well as my other child. Over the course of the next year, I watched my children blossom in their academic pursuits, learning to dive deep into subjects that fascinated them, read at their pace, and challenge themselves with accelerated material.
Despite the academic fit, there has still been a piece missing; collaborating with other children on a consistent, daily basis and building relationships of trust within that type of environment.
That is when the idea of a micro-school specifically for gifted children was born. There is no option like this in our area and the need is great. I am but one of many parents looking for a better educational fit for their children. Our hope is that through this school, gifted children will feel a deep sense of engagement and belonging.