I still remember the words of the principal from my son’s brief foray into public kindergarten, “You can’t expect us to change the curriculum for one child.” When a teacher has the best interests of 35 students to consider, it’s no wonder they can’t be very adaptable. As a homeschooler instant curriculum adjustment is no problem. You can change teaching style, you can add or remove a subject, and you can follow the interests of your child almost instantly. You might need a trip to your public library for information, but that’s all. No IEP meetings. No counselling sessions. No purchase orders to fill out. No worries about whether little Johnny can keep up with the interests of Little Suzie.
In today’s public schools, children are forced into a mold of sorts. They must fit in. If they don’t, the resulting chaos is usually problematic for everyone and stressful to the kids. Many teachers didn’t envision that when they took up the career of teaching. A number of those teachers become so frustrated that they lose the spark that made them fantastic at teaching. This is a truth that many parents of gifted kids talk about endlessly. And please understand, we know there are wonderful teachers out there. Unfortunately, the stresses of meeting the needs of the majority and adhering to the policies of the school district have drained the life out of a lot of those people. Gifted children tend to be a handful and they simply CAN’T be what they are not. No amount of pounding them into a mold will make them fit. We don’t hate all teachers, though it can seem that way when we talk out of frustration or disappointment. I think most people with a true talent for teaching would love the chance to individualize for each child. As a homeschooler, I can individualize. If I planned a lecture and see my child zoning out, I can immediately alter to something more hands-on. I can let him read. I can change subjects. And I don’t have to answer to anyone about my choices.
Likewise, I can change science subjects a hundred times if I need to. So what if I planned to do kitchen chemistry all month? If my son is suddenly absorbed by his snap circuits, I can actually let him play with it for science. Because I’m in a charter, I may get some questions about it from my E.S., but I’m ultimately responsible for teaching him. Worse comes to worst, I can pull him from the charter and go it alone. School can be molded to my son — I don’t have to mangle my square peg to fit him into a round hole. That’s a freedom I think most teachers would give their left arm for.