education, girls, growing up, parenting, stay at home mom


I know that every parent thinks his or her child is a genius, but at our conference yesterday my daughter’s teacher actually told me, in her opinion, she wouldn’t be surprised if my daughter is a candidate for Mensa, and how all the other teachers always talk about how bright she is.

So at first I was all like, “I am redeemed! I DO have the smartest child in the world! I am awesome!” And I started planning a life where my genius child will invent some new technology and sell it to Facebook and buy us a mansion and keep us in a life to which I would love to be accustomed.

And then after I googled “Mensa” I was all like, “Great. More work for me.”

First of all, just getting “in” to Mensa isn’t really the issue because: A)Their own statistics say one out of every 50 people qualifies for Mensa; And 2) we don’t have any plans to pursue membership for our (soon to be) six year old. The issue (if you want to call it that) is, how do I ensure my “bright” child gets all the stimulation and enrichment she needs to reach her potential in a public school environment?

Don’t get me wrong – I am so proud and feel so blessed to have a daughter who is so bright and sensitive and curious, but the thing is, if she isn’t challenged and given appropriate work to keep her stimulated, or given the appropriate opportunities, what does it matter? To this point, we’ve had her in a Montessori school, which has been great for giving her exactly what she is ready for when she is ready for it, but we won’t be able to keep her in a Montessori school after kindergarten. The only option for that is too far away (and it’s not exactly in the budget…).

The public education system in this country is seriously flawed. I am filled with so much anxiety and dread when I think about her starting in public school, even though the elementary school here gets nothing but rave reviews from all our neighbors. In the two years we have lived here, I have literally never heard anyone say anything bad about the school. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s part of a flawed one-size-fits-all system that depends on politics and bureaucracy to survive.

The fact of the matter is, “bright” depends on how you look at it. And all children deserve to be taught in a way in which they can learn. Every child – everyONE – has a way of learning that suits him or her best. But they way the system works, teachers don’t necessarily have the freedom and/or resources to teach in a way that reaches every child. So children get labeled as smart or dumb, when neither may be true.

As parents we have the ability to supplement our children’s education outside of what they receive in the public setting, but only if we have the time and/or resources. And as someone who spent a lot of my childhood in small towns where the income was less than the US median, that strikes me as unfair.

And frankly, all of this scares the crap out of me.

I can barely keep up with my laundry much less keep up with what my children are doing in school. And I stay at home now – what if I had a job outside the home? What if we were living paycheck to paycheck?

With every year that passes I wonder more and more who exactly decided I was qualified to be a mother. Because I do not feel very confident in the position. And you know what? Come to think of it, I blame this lack of confidence on the extremely bright child with which I’ve been burdened. Well, hell, let’s face it – certainly the younger one will also be a genius.

Why me?! WHY, OH, WHY?

The work of my genius child.

1 thought on “Brilliant!

  1. Street smarts vs. Book smarts. Fancy programs vs. flawed public schools. I truly believe that as long as children are emotionally supported (and financially when feasible)in their unique interests and talents (no matter how wickedy-wack they may or may not be)and not pushed into what they are “supposed” to do…then they will be happy and successful humans. I can only assume that our (me and you, Candy) upbringings were not too different…my mom told me to do whatever I wanted (because she couldn’t afford to send me to college anyway and I was on my own). I also don’t have children so can only empathize with this very real fear that parents, like yourself, face.

Comments are closed.