My son sits on his bed. He is leaning against his bedroom wall, legs crossed, and reading a book. The book he is reading is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This book is 700 pages long. My son just turned 9 years old.
A little girl sits in her second grade classroom. Her dark eyes look down on the desk as she breezes through a second grade math worksheet. Her parents know that she could be doing fourth grade worksheets. Her teacher probably knows this too. The girl finishes her worksheet first.
A group of first grade children work together on an art project. Each child draws an animal scene. One young boy draws an animal scene so vivid and accurate - his classmates look at the picture in amazement. So does his teacher.
These are our kids. Real Cudahy students. I know all three of them. They are, I'm sure, just a few of the many, many gifted kids in this area.
Maybe I just over-worry about things. I do that sometimes. I can't help it. From the moment my kids left my eyesight - into the care of someone else, I worried. Are they happy? Are they eating a good lunch? Are they making friends? Are they really getting a good education?
Specifically, are our smartest and brightest kids getting a good education? I worry.
Literally - every day - I read about education budget cuts. I hear about layoffs. I read about teachers who retire and are not replaced. And I see my third grade son - with so much potential - reading his sixth grade book. I watch the second grade girl - with a fourth grade intelligence - finishing her second grade worksheet. And I see the brilliant artwork of our first grade artist - doing a simple first grade project. Yes - I worry.
I know that my son belongs in a good gifted and talented and program. His teachers know this too; they've known for a long time. However, these days - as a parent, I really don't know how to make this happen. The gifted and talented program in our school, so far, plays a very small part of my son's life. And in terms of budget cuts in school districts, the gifted and talented program is usually one of the first things to go or change.
What can I do?
I know a few families of gifted kids in my son's school. One family just sold their house. They plan to move to another city this summer. Another family wants to send their child to another school district in 2-3 years. And another family moved to Franklin last year. These families all have the common goal - to provide a better future for themselves and their kids. However, will they really succeed - in an environment where school budget cuts - in all cities - seem to be an expectation rather than an exception?
Again, what can I do?
My biggest challenge of the summer is usually the same challenge every summer. I struggle to keep my kids motivated and at the same time, I really struggle to keep myself motivated.
You know, I sometimes wonder why I like contests like this. The odds of winning are not high. And it takes time to vote.
However, I can't help it. The idea of winning $500,000 for our city, to benefit this area, and to benefit our schools makes me think big and of course, makes my heart beat a little faster! Can you imagine what any of our schools would do with that kind of money?
So why not? I voted - and I'm spreading the word. As Wayne Gretsgy said - You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
Lately, my husband and I have been discussing the right age to get our kids a cell phone. Well, actually, this has been an ongoing discussion for awhile. A few of our kids' friends have cell phones. And of course, when we see these other kids with a cell phone, the discussion comes back to us.
How old should kids be when they get a cell phone?