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Nov 17 2014

{GHF blog hop} To Be Both Normal and Extraordinary

To Be Both Normal and Extraordinary

 

Most Fridays during the school year we’re at our homeschool co-op. It’s a warm (in company, the buildings are freezing, but that’s why I have a down coat), comforting, supportive day for us. It’s the first (and still only) place Andy can hang with peeps like him, where we can both let our freak flag fly. No one bats an eye when a five year old is bouncing around in math class, giddy with excitement that he’s doing negative number algebra. Or a kid might need to pace a bit around the room to think. Or an advanced physics class has an age spread of several years, taught so all those interested and able can take it. It is all normal, and it is extraordinary.

Isn’t that what we all want? To be both normal and extraordinary? For our extraordinary selves to be recognized, and for that to just be, you know, normal? How wonderful that would be.

There is such an unspoken dichotomy here in the States. There is an expectation for everyone to be extraordinary, but if you truly are, you’re marginalized for not being normal. These gifted and 2e kids can’t help but be extraordinary, any more than I can help being extraordinarily tall. This makes finding or creating a community where the extraordinary is normal even more pressing. We’ve been so lucky to have this co-op. My kid gets to truly be himself, and I can talk freely with other parents about the difficulties of homeschooling a gifted kid (hint: it ain’t all sunshine and roses. It ain’t even a light drizzle and carnations. It’s more like an imminent offshore hurricane and the entirety of Butchart Gardens; you’re never quite sure when it the storm will hit, or which way the wind will blow when, but damn isn’t it beautiful here?).

My sons are extraordinary. They are also quite normal, though I’m sure the rest of society cocks a skeptical eyebrow at that. A community where both are celebrated is a joy and a necessity. My job is to find those communities. I have one with our co-op and another online. Both are deeply valuable to me, to us.

Because the only way our kids, all of our kids, are going to thrive is if we celebrate their extraordinariness while we simultaneously treat it as the most normal thing in the world.

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1507364_10204797988496874_5108667508715648633_oToday’s post is one of several on the topic of community, as part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum November blog hop. The theme of community was chosen to coincide with this week’s GHF 10 year anniversary. Ten years of resources, support, connection, and advocacy for gifted and 2e kids. If you’ve benefited from GHF’s work, I urge you to become a member of this non-profit organization. While the resources are free to everyone, membership allows us to reach more families and advocate more effectively for this community. There are a variety of benefits for members, which are listed on the membership options page. I’m proud and honored to be a part of GHF, not only as a member, but as one of the inaugural Ambassadors.

Happy Anniversary, GHF. I look forward to creating an even stronger community over the next ten years and beyond.

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  1. Caitie

    I love everything about this post. I’m still searching for a place to let my guy’s freak flag fly. Glad you found yours!
    Caitie recently posted…The quest for his communityMy Profile

  2. Gail Post, Ph.D.

    So glad you found a place where your extraordinary child can flourish and FEEL normal. That’s quite a challenge. It is hard for parents to find these spaces for their children. Whether children are homeschooled or not, finding extra-curriculars is often the best place to find like-minded kids. I know that my kids found a safe space when they played chess; most chess clubs and tournaments are truly accepting of any personality/social differences. Music and art classes are also great places to start.

  3. Carolyn

    Yes, I think we all want to feel and be normal at times. There’s always that desire to just go home and do something mundane like laundry. Then there’s the desire to be found or recognized. You’re lucky to have found a co-op.

  4. Amy

    Extraordinary is our normal and we always let our freak flag fly! It’s too bad most people look at us like there is something wrong with us.
    Amy recently posted…We Are So UnrelatableMy Profile

  5. Bob Yamtich

    It sounds fun to be both normal and extraordinary!

    “no one bats an eye” is the key, also, no eye rolling or open-eyed-astonishment-awe.

  6. Celi Trepanier

    Yes, dichotomy is the perfect word to describe giftedness in our world, and that is exactly why parents of gifted children need to find their community for support. Your co-op sounds so heavenly–would that co-op consider moving about 300 miles west? 😉 Thank you, Jen, for such an encouraging post!

  7. Nicole

    Love it. It is quite the paradox isn’t it? We want smart but then as a society at large we beat down the smart… perplexing.
    Thanks jen!

  8. Paula Prober

    Thanks for this post, Jen. I love the idea that the extraordinary can be normal!
    Paula Prober recently posted…Gifted? High Achieving? Pushy Parents? The Ongoing DebateMy Profile

  9. The Cardinal House

    I LOVE WHAT YOU SAY HERE: “Because the only way our kids, all of our kids, are going to thrive is if we celebrate their extraordinariness while we simultaneously treat it as the most normal thing in the world.”

  10. Jo Freitag

    “There is an expectation for everyone to be extraordinary, but if you truly are, you’re marginalized for not being normal.” – Well said – that describes it exactly!
    It is so important to find a community where it normal to be extraordinary.
    Jo Freitag recently posted…Finding Your Community: Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of GHFMy Profile

  11. Pamela @RedWhiteandGrew

    Extraordinarily normal or normally extraordinary? I’m going with the second one. Marvelous post. <3
    Pamela @RedWhiteandGrew recently posted…{GHF Blog Hop} Let’s Talk about Giftedness & CommunityMy Profile

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