Right now in Eamon's room something amazing is happening, but I want you to know why, so lets back track a bit...
Last week was teacher parent conference. We don't even need to talk about Eden's. Wonderful, wonderful, delightful, couldn't ask for more. Oh, her spelling? Yeah, It blows.
Eamon is a different story, always has been. After three months of not feeling much confidence in his teachers ability to actually teach him, let alone understand him as a person, I sat across from her at a miniature table in a miniature chair tying my hardest to be as objective as possible. And I was, at that moment. But later, each time I went back through the meeting in my head, I started to get more and more anxious about what is happening in his class on a daily basis. His teacher says at times he is frustrated, that he holds his head in anger when he can't come up with an answer or doesn't understand something. He is slow at taking spelling tests and when he misses a word, he can't just skip that word and move on, it's impossible for him. He rarely finishes his work and when asked to draw a picture and write two sentences about it, on a good day, there will be a picture with some words. Only once did he write a sentence. He is quiet and she has to "consciously call on him regularly, because he never raises his hand."
She says she has seen his type before, that she knows he is bright and before long we "will probably have a gifted child on our hands." But what about now? Why can't he thrive in that room right now? Is he not "gifted" now? I tell her that he would benefit greatly from any type of small group situation she could provide. She tells me there is an reading intervention program for kids like him but she can only send three of her children and he is #4 because she is sure that he really understands his letters and sounds, and the others, they are worse off. Other than that, there really was no way she could provide what he needed. Her solution to all this was to send him to an after school test prep program so at least he can do well in the California state standard tests. Well, to me, that's a deal breaker, that's the last thing I am looking for, plus, this sounds nothing like my child.
This school has a top notch reputation, probably LAUSD's finest elementary school and Eden's year has been more than I could ever ask for. So why the disparity?
Two nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and started to think about all the things I could do with Eamon if we home schooled. I came up with plan after plan after plan. I thought about writing, and maybe if we wrote comic books together, it would interest him. I thought about all the opportunities for learning in LA, the museums, the zoos, the libraries and how i could turn those things into fantastic lessons. Sometime around 5:45 am I fell back to sleep satisfied that if the administration couldn't help me out with this, we would still be alright.
And as if on cue tonight, Eamon asked for some paper and pencils before bed, he wanted to write a book. He drew his own square for a picture, and his own lines for words. He drew a picture and then wrote a phonetically impeccable story to go along with it. One, two, three sentences on the first page. Two on the second. Then he told me that this story would be much better than the one we read tonight (Not a Box). I told him I thought it would too. I will bring it in for his teacher tomorrow to show her how "gifted" he really is.