Tuesday, August 28, 2007


This morning AJ said he didn’t want to go to school.

This was a notable event, because AJ always wants to go to school. Even on the weekends and holidays.

“Why don’t you want to go to school?”

“I just don’t like going all day. I want to go to a different school for second grade. I want to take a school bus.”

We were unable to get to the bottom of this. I suspect a combination of exhaustion, not knowing the people in his new class yet and boredom. The first two will be amended in time – he’s three and a half days of school. I’m not so sure about the third one.

I started worrying again when I got the introduction to the math curriculum the teacher sent home in his backpack yesterday.

“Counting to 100. Counting things out in pennies. What?” I ranted at Mr. Spy. “AJ’s known how to do all these things since he was 2.”

“I know.”

This morning after I saw AJ to his class line, his teacher, who I really like, came over to me to talk about his reading.

AJ had mentioned yesterday after school that he had read with his teacher “like I did in kindergarten.”

“What did you read?” I had asked.

“I don’t know. We read a lot of books. I don’t remember them all.”

So when Mrs. M. came over to me, I had a feeling I knew what this is about.

“AJ and I did some reading yesterday.”

“I heard. He said you read a lot of books.”

She laughed. “Yeah. I kept bringing out books. He’d read a little and I’d stop him and say ‘Nope! Too easy!’ and toss it aside.”

I told her about my conversation with AJ at breakfast. He finished reading the first Harry Potter book with me last night and was desperate to start the next one. “Please, Mommy? Do we have to wait until night?”

So he started reading it to me while I did the dishes.

“Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number 4, Privet Drive…”

Mrs. M. nodded and then explained to me how the reading program worked, how she usually sends books home with students to read for their at-home logs. “But I think maybe,” she said, “you could do a better job finding things for him at home or at the library. I’ll be able to keep him challenged at school, but I’m not sure I have enough for home too.”

“I’d be happy to.”

“Thank you,” she said. “And thank you for sending him to me.”

That last sentence made me feel a lot better. Because I really feel like to Mrs. M., AJ is a challenge, something exciting. Not a burden. Even though, as I’m sure she knows, he’s going to mean more work for her.

And it’s this attitude at AJ’s school in general that is why I kept him at this school. It’s why I haven’t listened to the many naysayers I’ve encountered on websites catering to gifted kids, and within my own community. There is a big difference between wanting to help and being able to help. But you certainly won’t get the latter without the former. It’s not perfect, but it’s workable, because they’re open-minded. And that helps a lot.

Still, if AJ learns to loathe school, if the boredom thing doesn’t disappear soon, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Skip a grade? Figure out how to get a scholarship to a gifted school? AJ’s not a brainiac freak. He’s a boy with a brain. He loves to play football (although he may be the only kid on his team who really understands the game) and baseball even more than he likes to play chess, although he likes that too. He still sleeps with a blankie, even when he wants to stay up late telling you about the eclipse. He values being silly over being smart. And sometimes, a lot of the time, he just wants to be the same as the other kids but he seems to realize that he’s not quite.

[Crossposted at Spynotes]