Friday, 23 September 2016

The Boy and the Canoe

Picture of empty canoe on edge of water

This is the story of a boy and a canoe.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Adventures in the Jungle: Finding Peers for 2e Kids

Picture of a mass of plants

Sometimes trying to find places my kids can be themselves and meet others with the same interests feels like a walk in the jungle. I set off with a map, but it's soon useless as the twists and turns under the canopy disorient me and I'm stumbling through the semi-dark, hoping for a clearing and a brief glimpse of light. For a few moments I'll think I've learned the do's and don'ts . . . until I tumble into a new part of the jungle.

But those glimpses of light - when connections are made, friendships formed and a real meeting of minds happens? Those moments are worth every laborious step.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Apple, Ginger and Cinnamon Tea Cake

About a year and a bit ago (I think, it feels like forever), with a specialists help, I finally managed to figure out that I have developed an allergy to egg. If you can't hear the wailing and the knashing of teeth over here, you are lucky! Egg was one of my favourite foods, was an essential part of my baking and was a very difficult ingredient to replace. Not so much for its sticking power (banana does a great job for that), but for the light and fluffy-ness it adds to sponge cakes. So I have been experimenting for months and months with increasing despair - trying to bake a half-decent vegan, gluten-free sponge is hard!

But with the help of Jaime Oliver, and his magnificent Vegan GF sponge recipe, I now have cracked the code. This is not the same recipe, though his recipe is superb (I am incapable of not-tampering with any recipe). But it gave me a few pointers in the right direction for how to craft my own recipe that is repeatable and delicious.

So this is it, my Apple, Ginger and Cinnamon Tea Cake!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Different Doesn't Matter . . . Until it Matters

Picture: One black fig among a group of green figs. Text: Different Doesn't Matter ...Until It Matters |
There's a well-meaning, but very ignorant article, by Farrah Alexander at Huffington Post floating around at the moment. And like most of these articles, it appears to be inclusive and kind. It's not. It hurts.

Tabitha over at Simply Precocious wrote a beautiful empathetic piece on why the original article was and is hurtful. Please go and read it.

Now, I could write about why dismissing the idea of giftedness is harmful. And I have previously here.
And this isn't the first or the last ignorant piece written by well-meaning but poorly informed people who think they're doing everyone a favour by dissing on gifted people. You can read my previous responses here and here and here.

Instead I want to talk about why the idea that difference 'doesn't matter' is harmful. I see it all the time - "Everyone is different", "Let you're unique self shine!". They're lovely memes. Lots of fist-pumps and "Yeah! That's awesome!"

But it's a rare person that actually means it. Instead, a more honest meme might be:

"Be Different! But Don't Make Me Feel Uncomfortable.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Living in Extracurricular Purgatory

Picture via Pixabay. Desc. Image "Sad women on bench in tiled room." Text "Living in Extracurricular Purgatory"

When, all those years ago, we decided that homeschooling was the right choice for our deeply asynchronous children, I kind of hoped that this would mean an escape from age-based norms and expectations. We would be free to craft the curriculum and activities that 'fit' our kids without the limitations that came with the age-grade lockstep that is the traditional way schools organise learning.

Gosh was I naive.

Because, whether I like it or not, almost anything to do with children is organised based on these traditional age-grade levels. Finding places that 'fit' my kids and their very different needs has been like ground-hog day. Reliving the same situations over and over again, with only the surface details changing.  And each time feels like another walk through extracurricular purgatory. . .

Monday, 18 July 2016

Gifted Education and 'Woo'

text: Gifted Education and 'woo' , Picture: stethoscope and medical forms

In the last few weeks there have been 'shocking' headline articles [1] in my state of Victoria about a gifted education provider used by at least 30 schools. The 'shock' is due to the founder's unusual non-mainstream, non-scientific (and pretty out-there) ideas which were taught without either their parents or the school's knowledge. There were a lot of very upset people - both in the medical establishment, in the schools and in the general public - pulling their hair and wailing about standards, speculating about the 'reasons' [2] and generally lamenting about 'woo' being taught without reflecting on how this incident revealed and illustrated some of the deeper issues that currently plague gifted education in most Victorian schools [3].

Sadly, that this happened isn't really a surprise. It was almost inevitable. Because, when it comes to gifted education, almost all schools already deal in woo.

Friday, 1 July 2016

The Smartest Person in the Room

Stylised silhouette of people against clouds with function equation. Photo via Pixabay.

Whether I like it or not, I am making unconscious decisions everyday on the people I meet. Is a person listening? Are they engaged in our conversation? What are they thinking?

And I have come to realise that my answers to these questions - and the unconscious assumptions I make about people around me - have been driven more by cultural ideas about behaviour than the reality I face each day.

It's steep learning curve to to step away from my own ingrained ideas. Particularly when I am not always consciously aware I hold them. But I work at  it day by day, assumption by assumption. I'm not there yet.

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