#010 Growth Mindset with Big Life Journal Founder, Alexandra Eidens

#010 Growth Mindset with Big Life Journal Founder, Alexandra Eidens

Today I’m speaking with Alexandra Eidens about all things Growth Mindset!

Alexandra is the CEO and Founder of the Big Life Journal website and it was lovely to catch up and talk.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • What is a growth mindset?
  • What is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset?
  • How can we encourage our children to have a growth mindset (and us!).
  • What the best thing we can do as parents.

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“What are the automatic thoughts? What do they immediately start thinking If something doesn’t go their way?… We can help our children rewire their brain to replace those thoughts with positive ones or the encouraging empowering ones.” – Alexandra

 “If you can influence their brain structure and how the brain is wired, and you can literally set them up for success in life.” – Alexandra

 “We like to say that children are not born with a certain level of potential, their potential is unlimited. And your job as a parent is to first, make sure they know that. And second, help them develop their potential.” – Alexandra


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Sophia Elliott:  [00:00:00] I’m delighted today to welcome Alexandra Eidens CEO and founder of the big life journal.

And now the big life kids podcast changing lives around the globe one growth mindset at a time. Alexandra, welcome to the ELL gifted kids podcast.

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: Thank you so much for having me. I’m very excited.

Sophia Elliott: I’m delighted to be talking to you today. I’m a huge fan. We as a family have been using your products for a few years now, and it’s lovely to be able to share that with the rest of our community.

I know that a gifted kids in particular can have challenges with growth mindset. As children who learn quickly when they face those situations where they’re not used to getting things wrong or out of their comfort zone, having to try when normally, it just comes quite naturally to them.

They hit that wall. So what is the growth mindset?

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: Yeah. Mindset is how you think about yourself and your world and the world around you. How do you think about your talents, your abilities, your skills and growth mindset was developed by professor Dr. Carol Dweck, and she is a Stanford psychologist, and she still is doing a lot of work around that, around the mindset and studying different types of mindsets.

What she said was there are two types of mindsets in general, and you can divide people into two mindsets of fixed mindset and growth mindset. And all of us are in between somewhere. So it’s never a hundred percent. And a growth mindset is when you believe that you can improve you are not too afraid of trying new things, you know, you can expand your abilities and you know, that your brain actually can grow which is true based on the science of neuro neurogenesis and neuroplasticity and a fixed mindset is the opposite of that is when you think that you’re born in a certain way and you kind of like have set skills and talents and abilities, and you might not as, might not.

As well, try so hard because you just kind of like set as a person.

Sophia Elliott: Excellent. So it’s all about taking out opportunities as they come up in life. And either coming from that belief that we’re able to change the way that we approach situations or feeling very fixed. And that way we can’t shift the way that we approach things and.

And so with the products that you have the big life journal, how does that help people develop a growth mindset?

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: Yes, so we have different types of things that we offer, including paid and free. Journals themselves they would be like the core resource that we promote and the journals are growth mindset.

So journals that guided. If you are new to growth mindset yourself as a parent, for example, and your child is new to this whole concept of mindset and growth mindset. A journal would be a great place to start because it’s guided, it guides you through the process of understanding.

What is how powerful your brain is, what is a basic science brain of science and brain science. And also, how can you apply this in day to day life? What does it mean to have a growth mindset? And and then we also have other things like some children learn different ways, right? They learn by.

Listening for example, and we have a great big life kids podcast, which is a growth mindset podcast, and it’s teaching children growth mindset lessons in a fun and entertaining way. So it’s totally free.  And if you would like to dip your toes into growth mindset at first, not sure if you know how your child is going to react to it.

This podcast is a great place to start because [00:04:00] it’s fun. It’s auditory, it’s like a story time and it’s. Slowly, introducing your child to all those different ideas.

Sophia Elliott: And it’s great. We often listen to the podcast on the way to school and back from school, it’s just the right length for the school run, which is really handy.

And it’s full of really quirky, interesting stories and adventures and  my kids love it. So definitely. Yeah, definitely something to tune into. And so the podcast is a great starting point  for parents and children, and then they can graduate to the journals. And my kids have got the journals as well.

They’re really great. And so parents can work through the journals with their children together. Is that the best way to approach it?

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: So there are different types , there’s like a workbook style where you go through the journal together with your child, and that’s the the big red journal for kids.

And we recommend it for ages seven to 10. We also have a journal for older children, which is. For tweens and teens, that actually it’s 11 and plus, and this is the, that journal has done on its own. A parent is not technically involved, even though we know that some parents buy for themselves as well, so they can do it.

Side-by-side with our tween and teen. And we also have a daily edition, which has also done on its own. And it’s more like to solidify the lessons learned in the first journal and to create this daily practice because it’s all about repetition and practice and. Wiring the brain and that’s why affirmations are so powerful. That’s why like consistent journaling is powerful because you help your brain and your child’s brain develop certain connections and new cells. And when you do it often you strengthen those connections. So instead of them having, let’s say. Kind of like we sometimes talk about automatic thoughts, if your child is into  has low self-esteem or has a negative self-talk, which we explained to a parent, you got to look at what are the automatic thoughts are like, what do they immediately start thinking?

If something doesn’t go their way. And we can help our children. Rewire, literally their brain to replace those thoughts with positive ones or the encouraging empowering ones, encouraging ones. And that’s what you want to do. Like it’s all about brain science and it’s once you understand that, how powerful your brain is and that you can influence like how your brain is wired by your daily practices, by things you do every day.

By your habits, but what your information you expose yourself to and your child to what you, how you talk to them. And if you can influence their brain structure and how the brain is wired, and you can literally set them up for success in life.

Keep reading transcript here...

Sophia Elliott: So how does having the growth mindset and practicing having that daily practice and growth in that area?

How does that help us set our kids up in the future  for  success?

I mean, growth mindset is  it’s very empowering. So let’s say if your child has a growth mindset means they know they can improve and they can get better, they can learn anything. And that’s a very empowering thing to know.

And when kids have a growth mindset, they. Are very open to new challenges and they can have this attitude of, I can handle anything. And if I can’t, if I get, if I have a mistake or if I fail on, I just learned from it and I keep going, I can ask for help. So they have this kind of like mental chatter.

And he’ll say, things that go through their head, which is very empowering. And essentially we like to say that children are not born with. Like certain level [00:08:00] of potential, their potential is unlimited. And your job as a parent is to first make sure they know that. And second help them develop their potential to like the levels.

They want to, right. So whatever they want to do in life, your job as a parent is to help them develop that mindset and that attitude and belief and self esteem that they can do anything. And they can be whoever they want to be. And that’s like the main point, right? So they’re not limited by anything.

They’re not limited by their own mindset, they’re not limited by resources. They’re not limited by circumstances. They just know that they are literally unlimited. And that’s what we want to communicate through all the resources that we provide is going to like that unlimited potential for your child.

Absolutely. That just sounds wonderful. And I know these resources are brilliant for old children and in particular, I can see how that’s really useful for gifted children who maybe struggle with perfectionism or might feel very defined by, being the person who always gets high grades and then find it really difficult when they get a bit older and study becomes harder.

So there’s all sorts of scenarios in which that growth mindset can really set up. All children, but give to children as well. Because they need that resilience, that belief that with the persistence, which comes up a lot in your journals and that understanding, like you say that they can work through things and, they can help train their brain to, to keep going with that persistence and they can do anything that they want.

So absolutely wonderful resources. We also use your cards at home. And I know sometimes as a family, we can come across these great things and then we find them really tricky to incorporate into our daily routine. And  we use these little cards Often at breakfast or dinner, someone will get them out and we’ll start asking questions.

And so do you have any other tips for ways in which families can help incorporate some of these things into their days?

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: Yes. There are tons of ideas. It is, I would, I always say start with your language because  the way that you speak with your child is probably one of the most important things.

And it is how you speak about themselves, how you speak about yourself in front of them, other people, and also like events and. And mistakes and failures and whatever is happening throughout the day and how you share your experiences. So language is how humans learn and make sense of the world.

And they watch you to understand the world because they are little, they don’t know what’s happening most of the time because it’s so complicated and they just watch you explain it to them, whether you’re aware of this or not. And watch how you speak about what’s happening and about themselves.

So for example, let’s say if you’re in your audience, people have gifted children and especially when they when they just, realize that something’s ever easy for them. And they’re just you know, get things very fast and to have the highest grades in the class. Like when you know that you can your goal should be help them develop a growth mindset.

So how do you do that? How do you speak about the achievements to them and like the main. I would say concept one of the main concepts of growth mindset is that the end result doesn’t really matter. And what matters is the process and how you got there. And if even Carol Dweck, Dr.

Carol Dweck was saying, is that if your child got something right, and it was easy for them, there’s in you, you know, that it was easy for them. It’s not something [00:12:00] to celebrate. So to say it is an opportunity. It’s a realization that what they’re doing now is not up for the, up to their capabilities.

They are, they capable of much more, and that’s your job to give them tasks and give them more challenging tasks. Give them like assignments that stretch their abilities because. And the end of the day, the end result, their A grade or they’re a hundred percent tests. It’s not as important as the actual, stretching of the mind.

And so when you realize that and when you explain it to them and you treat the end result the success of versus failure, like the same but make. Emphasis on how they got there, how they stretch themselves, what have they learned? Maybe they learned that it was too easy, right. So that’s also a helpful information, so they can you can say, okay, well, let’s find something more challenging.

Let’s look into this. Let’s look into that. And When you approach life like that is it’s just the main result is a learning is learning. And we also say, okay, help them achieve learning goals instead of achievement goals. Instead of saying, let’s get an a hundred percent on this test or it’s how can I, what can I learn in this process and how can I skill, build my skills and give to them not your child does not born with.

Skills available. Right? So they’re always something to learn and help them understand what skills will be helpful for them , in the future. In terms of, so to answer your original question, it’s all about like talking through this things, right? So I would say, the tools are great, but you’re your own mindset.

And we always say, start working on yourself first and and then you model it and how you talk to your child about what is happening in the world. And again, making, helping them to make sense of the world and also themselves and their abilities.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely making sense of the world. That’s huge.

I do have a few questions that are from parents. And one of the questions is for children who really do struggle with the growth mindset. How as parents, can we. Explain that to friends and family in a way that doesn’t make it sound like we’re just being soft on our kids, but actually explaining that actually it’s a real challenge for this child to be in that uncomfortable space and something that we’re working on.

Have you got any advice there?

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal:  Can you give me an example of what would be a situation?

Sophia Elliott:  One of my friends is wanting to take a family member wants to take their children to play mini-golf. But she knows that her kids will really struggle with that. The competitive nature of it, the expectations and disappointment of winning or losing.

And it’s just going to end in meltdowns and not be pleasant for anyone, but she’s struggling with how to communicate that to her family member and suggests that maybe it’s not the best thing to do.

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: Yeah. That’s a very interesting question. I would say that Of course you can, you can you’ll be talking to adults, right?

So in adults, it’s much easier to explain things to adults than to children, but in this situation that you described, I would  I don’t know, I don’t, I wouldn’t worry that much about hurting anybody’s feelings. So to say and say, this is this is what we do. This is how we raise our children.

This is the situation, but I would focus on the child and I wouldn’t necessarily shield them. From these experiences, because I know you’re, yeah. It’s not going to be pleasant for anybody, but at the same time, you are preventing this frustration, and it’s not necessarily helping your child in, it’s not helping them build up their frustration tolerance.

And what I mean by that is Let’s say, like, when you say, when the baby is born, we want to expose them to germs and  when we expose to [00:16:00] germs, that’s how they build the immune system. And if you protect your child, you bubble them up and you like, everything is sanitized. As soon as they exposed to any sort of germ outside of their environment, they will get sick.

And the reason is we shouldn’t be, we shouldn’t be shooting or curating. The. Experiences for our children, because they are with us only a certain amount of time. The job that your job as a parent is to expose them to frustrations and experience and anger. So they can go through it. You can coach them through it and they can go through it with you.

And they’re not alone because once they get out of your house and they go golfing mini golfing, and then  what Don’t necessarily think that you need to shelter your children from that. What  you need to do is to help them build frustration, tolerance and coping strategies in advance and practice little by little expose into frustration.

Yes. You feel this way. Yes. It’s horrible. Let’s go through it and not be afraid of this feelings because at the end of the day, they will experience them once they leave your home. So what’s the point of like shielding them from that.

Sophia Elliott: So it’s like exercising a muscle. The more often they get in that uncomfortable situation and work through it and practice the better that they’re going to be at being in those situations of winning and losing.

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: Yes. And it’s all about wiring your brain again. It’s and the resilience is certainly a muscle and you can. Let’s say so in advance, before you go to this event, you can do a lot of things in advance. There’s always like intervention in the moment in intervention, out of the moment, right out of the moment  is when you teach the lessons and help them build strategies in the moment, it’s usually just emphasizing for the experience because there’s not much, you can teach them in the moment of frustration and you shouldn’t be trying to do that.

But out of the moment, right before they go to this event, you can practice different coping strategies like something. Okay. So if they’re have very hard time losing play games with them that would expose them to. To lose in a game and when they’re with you and then you can coach them through and say, Hey, you know what?

That time today we play this game and you lost and you got really angry, really frustrated, and you threw all the blocks at me. And I totally get it. It’s really tough. And what I want is to help you go through these events and come out of them. So you’re not as frustrated.

So let’s think of different things. You can do what I like to do. And when I get really mad, when I get really frustrated I like to close my eyes, lay on the floor and count, to 10, or I like to take a sip of cold water or I like to do jumping jacks or do you want to try some of these things because in the end of the day, This is your role as a parent, right?

So like they don’t know this information, they need to learn it. And your role as a parent is to teach them that out of the moment, practice this things. And when they get into the moment, they might be able to recall some of the scenes. And again, It’s all about wiring your brain. How do, how does your brain respond to difficult situation?

So the difficult situation is I lost a game and the brain should be wired. That the response shouldn’t be a meltdown where a thought that I’m not good at this. It’s everything sucks. This is horrible. It should be wired that, okay, this is really hard. I need to take a breath. And that’s how, what’s the thought that needs to come right.

Come up in their head and we can help them do that. That’s what I would, how I would look at this.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely helping him through it, preparing them before really great advice there. I had another question which was, I guess, some clarification around the growth mindset and is the growth mindset about celebrating when you get things wrong.

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: Yeah. So there is a component of that in terms of, yes, we are open to mistakes because mistakes help us learn and develop. But at the same time, there are different types of mistakes, right? So [00:20:00] not all mistakes are created equal. There are so-called stretch mistakes is when you make mistakes, when you stretch your abilities and you go into the zone where you are growing, you don’t know, it’s outside of your comfort zone, outside of your skillset.

You’re learning new things, and you’re absolutely will make mistakes. And those are the mistakes that we want to celebrate because we it’s indication that we are it’s information to us. Okay. We don’t know this thing yet. This is where we can learn. This is what we need to learn about. And other mistakes are sloppy mistakes, right?

So it’s when we just keep doing the same thing over and over again, because we’re not focused or we’re not paying attention, or those are not the mistakes that we need to celebrate necessarily. But at the same time, You got to give your child some credit and instead of first of all, understand what kind of mistake.

 Was it a stretch mistake? Was it a sloppy mistake? But even if it’s a slopping mistake, we need to understand the state of your child. And what state are they in? Are they stressed? Are they going through some difficult stress in their life? Are they tired? Are they hungry? They dysregulated maybe they have certain conditions with doesn’t allow them to focus on even.

To you and might be sloppy, but the brain doesn’t work that way. So for them to learn something, they need to go through it 10 times. Right? So it’s not necessarily black and white all the time. You need to know, understanding your child that’s priority. Number one, learn how your child learns. Understand it understand their brain, where they are, how do they, and immediately jumping instead of immediately jumping to conclusions, try to get into the world and see where they are in the moment.

Yes, to answer that question, should I say mistakes are great stretch. Mistakes are great, but even sloppy mistakes need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Sophia Elliott: Excellent. Excellent. Yeah. So that’s a great distinction in terms of mistakes. I often say to my son who does struggle with making mistakes and trying things if he knows, he’s unsure about the outcome. We talk about Elon Musk and how many rockets it took or exploded before he had one that didn’t explode and that sort of inspires him to keep going. And I think it was like nine or eight or nine or something. And so that’s. I think reaffirms that’s a stretch mistake, and he’s aiming for something bigger.

Yeah, that’s a really great distinction. Thank you.

 Is there any just final advice for parents who are maybe struggling themselves with their own growth mindset. Like you say, to model for their kids that you could give and and just tell us where our listeners can find you.

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: Yeah. There so your parenting journey is number one modeling exercise for your child. So when they watch you go through your experiences and how you react to things and how you learn from things, how you talk about things, that’s what they learned from. And even if you think that you were raised with a fixed mindset, most of us were just because our parents didn’t know.

Such things, we can certainly model. The journey from a fixed to growth and you can even correct yourself. You know, like if you say something, Oh, is in fixed mindset to your child, your child heard it and you say, Oh, this was just such a fixed mindset thing to say, you know what? I think I need to rephrase it and kind of like have that internal monologue in front of them.

So they can hear you. I wouldn’t necessarily stress too much about like you and that having a growth mindset. And I would just take them on the journey with you and make sure that you don’t forget that the goal is to move closer to growth mindset as much as we can. And in terms of where people can find us is big electronical.com.

We actually do have an Australian store. The biglifejournal.com.au. And we. Make journals in Australia, we support Australian economy and we shipped directly from Australia. So I [00:24:00] think that your listeners would be happy to know that.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah, that’s fabulous. Thank you. So biglifejournal .com.au, and check out the podcast in all the places that you find podcasts.

And that’s the big life kids podcast, which is really great as well. So Alexandra, thank you so much for your time today. I really do appreciate you giving some of your morning to us and our listeners, and thanks for all of your advice there and

Alexandra Eidens, Big Life Journal: for the opportunity and for staying up so late. I appreciate that.


Sophia Elliott: no worries at all. Thanks very much. That’s wonderful. Thank you.


#009 The Our Gifted Kids Story

#009 The Our Gifted Kids Story

In this episode, I talk about my own story discovering my children are gifted and how that ended in the creation of Our Gifted Kids and the community we’re building!

“Parenting gifted kids is really tough and you can feel very alone and it’s easy to think that you’re slightly bonkers… you feel like there’s not necessarily a bunch of people out there who are going to understand what you’re going through. And there is.” – Sophia

Hit play and let’s get started!


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If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments.

For more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast please leave a review.

You can find show notes and more resources at www.ourgiftedkids.com

See you in the same place next week.


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Sophia: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome  I’m absolutely delighted to be starting this podcast. My name is Sophia Elliot, and I am a parent of three gifted children. And the whole reason behind this podcast is that I want to talk to other parents like yourself or, educators or policy makers about gifted kids.

[00:00:20] And I think it’s really important because I think there’s a lot of myths and taboo’s and misunderstandings about what it is to be gifted and what it’s like to parent a gifted child and how gifted children learn and what are the consequences of their different way of learning for education. And a lot of what I’ll be talking about will be based on my own experiences as a parent and also the experiences of the many other parents that I’ve met and the challenges and journeys that they’ve had with their children.

[00:00:54] And I think that it can be a very, very  isolating experience being a parent of a gifted child, because you feel, disconnected or you feel like there’s not necessarily a bunch of people out there who are going to understand what you’re going through. And there is, and part of this podcast and a part of our website is all about bringing that community together so that we can support each other.

[00:01:24] I want to be able to help parents to access resources. Online and people and conversations and other parents so that together we can support our children to be happy to get the education that they need, and we can support each other in parenting and along the way, hopefully we can improve the education options for our children and we can help even policy makers make better policies around gifted education.

[00:01:59] So today I just want to tell you a little bit about myself. I want to tell you about how I’ve ended up on this journey and just talk about what’s coming in the future. As I said, my husband and I have three gifted children. We didn’t know that we were going to have three gifted children. It was very much unexpected.

[00:02:21] Like I think it is for a lot of people. My oldest son was five when he was assessed and we found out that he was gifted. Despite having been engaged with a school through toddler, class and preschool, and then reception at no point had an educator at any point said to us he’s a little bit different or he’s particularly good at these areas or indicated in any way that he was different from his peers.

[00:02:56] Which made things a lot harder, because I think as a parent, you rely on your children’s educators to help you fill in some gaps ,  I know my own kids, but  I don’t teach. I’m not surrounded by  kids of similar ages.  To understand what normal looks like. For me, my kids are normal. They’re my normal kids. But within the scheme of things, they are different from their peers. And so I think as a parent, I was relying on their educators to maybe indicate that something was a little bit outside the box.

[00:03:35] And so. My son had started reception early just due to his date of birth for no other reason. The school had mid-year entry and he was accepted for mid-year entry because he was born earlier in the year. So he was five and a half when he started reception or no five. He was five. And he just dove into it.

[00:04:02] He was obviously ready for it. He couldn’t read before he went into reception. But within six months he was really smashing it within nine months. He was reading at like a grade two level, I think within 12 to 15 months he was reading at grade three or four level and I think shortly after that, he was just considered an independent reader and, I don’t have an education background.

[00:04:34] So initially, none of that made a whole lot of sense to me or not then to make sense, but I really didn’t understand the significance. He would get sent home with readers. There was numbers. It was only after. A few months that another parent had said to me, all those numbers are the reading level they’re at.

[00:04:56] And by the end of the reception, they should be, I think it was at level eight by the end of 12 months. And it was only, must’ve been termed two and he was already at level 12 and I thought, Oh, that’s interesting. And he just kind of shot up from there. But that wasn’t the big kicker for us. It wasn’t the big red flag.

[00:05:19]What happened after his first two terms at reception was he got depressed. He had always been he’s an extrovert and he had always been delightful, just delightful, describes him to a T just a delightful kid. And all of a sudden, he lost his joy for life. And when I say that, I mean, it, he like for weeks he could not find joy in life.

[00:05:48] He was not laughing. He was not smiling. He was not being silly. Like five-year-olds do, he was depressed. He was unhappy. He had no joy and that scared the hell out of me. It was incredibly frightening. And around the same time, what we also saw of course, was some behavior changes from our delightful, happy boy to angry, frustrated short tempered, hounding on his sibling.

[00:06:19]It just was not a pretty place to be. But on top of that, he would come home from school. And he would read and not just read, he would devour books. He would like just absorb them, inhale them. And he would come home from school and he would just read flat strap for four or five hours and then go to bed late.

[00:06:40]And obviously as a parent, you’re like, okay, number one, we don’t want you to go to bed that late, but. But it was just, there was no fighting it. He needed this. It was like he was at school all day. And I think he learned at school just to play. So what he got from school was playing and then he would come home to learn.

[00:07:00]And he was into space by this stage. He’d had some other loves earlier on, he was into the human body and he was into maps for a while and different things. But at this point he was really into space and. And the periodic table and planets and all that sort of stuff. And so he would just come home and devour books.

[00:07:19] And of course the books got more and more sophisticated. They started off being like flip books about planets and things, but they ended up being just books on space that

Transcript continues here

you might read yourself as an adult. And so one of our friends. Who was a teacher, although not, she was doing something else.

[00:07:40] She wasn’t actually teaching at that time, but she’d been trained in the UK. And apparently in the UK, they do a bit more work around training teachers to identify gifted kids. And so it was actually her who said to us you know, he’s gifted. Right. And we were kind of like, no, really? What does that mean?

[00:08:00] And really you think so we were kind of pulling our hair out by this point anyway. So we made the investment to get a psychological assessment and it is an investment. It was like $800 – $900, which is a lot of money for any family to, to pull together. So we went through the assessment process and I will never forget.

[00:08:22] I’m sitting down with that psych and my husband and getting the news that. He’s not just gifted. He was like super high. And, and it was kind of like when you get news that you actually can’t comprehend, you don’t, can’t comprehend it and you don’t really know what it means, and it’s quite overwhelming.

[00:08:40] And, and we just sat there trying to take it in from the psych, but really not knowing what the hell it meant. And we drove home. And at various times we were both laughing and crying because it was quite overwhelming. And we were like, what the hell do we do now? And the report from the psychologist had been really great because there were various recommendations with, okay, next step must be that we take that back to the school and they help us. Except we took it back to the school and the school. Were just not interested, despite having this document from a professional, an expert in identifying gifted children, that would just not interested. My grandmother may as well have written that for all they cared.

[00:09:30]And so part of the recommendations was acceleration. He was obviously ready. And capable of much more than reception. And as a parent, I was thinking he’s actually done 12 months of reception because he started early it’s midway through the year. And this particular school did midway entry.

[00:09:50] So some of his classmates because of their age had already, we’re moving up to grade one. And so we thought he’s already turned six. It seems reasonable that he would be accelerated into grade one now. And it was actually a grade one to three composite class which made it even better because I thought at least then whether he’s doing grade one work, grade two work or grade three work, you’re, they’re all in the same class.

[00:10:18] Surely that’s just going to make it easier for the teachers and better for him. Like it, to me, it just seemed like this great result. And it was clearly what he needed because he was not in a good place. Except when we spoke to the school, they refuse to accelerate him. And this is by six months. It’s not like I was asking for a whole grade skip or two grade skips.

[00:10:42]This was a six month shift within a framework where that already,a mid year shift was already happening with other kids and they refused it on the basis that his handwriting was only age appropriate. And they were concerned about his social, emotional wellbeing of not being with his classmates, which just dumbfounded me because.

[00:11:10] A, his classmates, some of them were moving up, so as far as he was concerned. He was going with them. He didn’t, he was like, I’m six, I’m going to go with them now. Right. And I had to explain to him that he wasn’t, he didn’t get it. And frankly, I didn’t get it either. And like, okay, his handwriting might be age appropriate, but he’s reading at like grade three level, what are you going to do for that?

[00:11:34] And, the best they could come up with was one hour a week. He could go sit with the other class, and the teacher had even said to me, prior to this, we’re struggling to find books for him that are appropriate because he’s young, but he’s reading at this advanced level and they just refuse to work with us.

[00:11:53] And even in that process, the deputy actually said, look, maybe you need to look around at other schools that will be a better fit for you. She actually said to me, at this school we really value our students experiencing life. We want them to, and I will never forget this. We want them to hold a rock and feel the rock can experience the rock and know that it’s a rock.

[00:12:17] And I’m just feeling like I’m in the Twilight zone. And I didn’t say this, but I’m thinking my son could probably tell you what elements are in that rock. Cause he loves the periodic table. Last week my son had said to me, he wanted to go to the sun and with two buckets of hydrogen, to collect hydrogen so he could bring it back with mixed with the oxygen to make water. I’m like he was well beyond holding a rock and understanding it was a rock he’s got that he needs to move on to something else. So the psychologist, what she said to us was. He learns really quickly. He, she described it as this funnel like we know a bottle, so we’ve all we all got this bottle and all the information goes in the top of the bottle.

[00:13:03] And some people have a really wide top and they can take a lot of information very quickly and retain it. And everyone’s a bit different. Some people their, the bottle’s hole is smaller. So they’re going to learn a little bit slower than the other person with the bigger hole or opening. I hope that makes sense.

[00:13:29] Well, that’s how she described it. And so for him, he’s opening his, is this, this big open bottle and everything’s pouring in, but he’s cool with that. He’s like, yep. Got it. Got it. No worries. Let’s move on to the next thing. He’s got this amazing memory. He’s going to learn fast. He’s going to remember.

[00:13:48] He doesn’t need to learn things over and over again. He’s probably good at the first time. So what he’d been experiencing reception was, and someone had described this to me at the time when you’re learning, particularly how to read, a teacher might go over something up to 30 times within that journey of learning that particular content and in different ways, but they said your son probably got it the second time. Maybe even the first time. So those other 28 times he’s bored out his brain. So that’s why he is feeling so disconnected and unhappy because he he’s. He’s just being asked to repeat content over and over again.

[00:14:43] And he’s not able to learn at the pace in which he needs to learn at all. He can learn it. So that was hugely devastating for us. We’d been a part of that school community for a number of years at that point already. My son had been to toddlers there and preschool there. My daughter at the time she’d been to baby steps and toddlers.

[00:15:03]She was. In preschool, I think at the time. And it just felt a huge betrayal that they were completely unwilling to work with us. And they were, they were completely unwilling to work with us.  We were saying, well, we’re having these huge issues with sleep and he comes home and he’s reading all this stuff, but they just looked as like, we were making this up and and it was like, we were doing something wrong and it’s like, well, why don’t you make your child go to bed? And I was like, it’s not like we don’t want him to go to bed. He’s, he’s obsessed. He needs this knowledge. He’s, he’s driven for it. And at one point they even put it back onto him and they said, well, he doesn’t go and get the hard stuff off the shelf and bring it to us.

[00:15:55] And I just thought, . Figure it out. He is obviously capable of more and he’s not happy. So go and get the hard stuff -he’s not engaging. Maybe it’s not hard enough. I don’t know. I’m not the teacher. I’m the parent telling you, I’ve got this report and I’ve got these problems and I need to be working with you in partnership to try and solve them and address them and support my son.

[00:16:19] But they were. Utterly unwilling. And we were very lucky. We live in Adelaide, in South Australia and we were very lucky that in Adelaide, South Australia, there is Australia’s only school for gifted kids. It’s called Dara School. And at this point it had only been opened a year or two. I think it may have even just been the second year of opening.

[00:16:44] So when we got absolutely nowhere with. The school we were at and not even nowhere, but we were all feeling very traumatized and devastated by the response that we’d got from the leadership and teachers. We applied to Dara and we went and had a look at a few other schools in the area. There was another school with a gifted program, but it wasn’t quite the right fit for us. So we applied to Dara and we were very lucky to get a place there. And within two weeks of him being at Dara, we suddenly realized he was happy. I think it was the end of week two. I suddenly looked at my husband and went, hang on. He’s. He has not been grumpy, like sad, picking fights, angry, frustrated this past little while.

[00:17:44] He’s actually been happy. He’s been tired when he gets home from school and going to bed, it happened so quickly at first. We didn’t even pick up on it. It was this sort of end of week two, we realized that he had changed and it was that quick. He had gone from this very disgruntled, frustrated, angry kid, to just the delightful boy that we knew and loved. And it really confirmed our decision to, to move him to this school and helped us to understand that how important it is. Not just important, but essential and integral. It is. For gifted kids, like our son to be able to learn at the pace in which they need to learn and and how connected that was to who they are.

[00:18:37]They’re just these massive sponges. But of course, being gifted, gifted kids, it’s not even a one size fits all. All kids are different. And they may share some characteristics. So gifted kids may learn more quickly. They may be, have a keen sense of social justice. They may have hypersensitivities and, be very sensitive kids.

[00:19:03]There are a number of characteristics that they can have, but. They don’t have to have all of these big lists. They’re all different as well. And they don’t have to be gifted across all areas. They may be gifted in one or two areas. It’s quite rare. I think for people to be gifted in every single area tested, and as, some people may be creative or it might be music, or it might be maths, or it might be science or English, writing.

[00:19:33] So everyone’s different, and so we went through this journey with our son and then. We were going through a different journey with our daughter. So my middle child is my daughter and she didn’t start talking until she was two and a half. And when she did start talking quickly realized all was not quite right.

[00:19:59] And she was assessed as having a severe speech impairment. And we. Of course put a lot of energy into getting help for that. And speech therapy. And we went through that process of, are there any other developmental issues or anything else going on? And so we undertook a few years of speech therapy and when it came to going into kind y  the speech therapist recommended a speech and language kindergarten that South Australia has. So within Adelaide, I think there are four kindergardens that within the state system that offer an intensive speech and language program. And so we applied for that and she got in and I mean, that’s probably another story, but. That was amazing. It was just an amazing program and an amazing experience for her.

[00:21:00] But as a part of the application process, she had to undertake a cognitive assessment. So she had to be assessed to ensure that the developmental issues were only around speech because this program was only for kids who just had that speech impairment. Not other developmental delays so that assessment actually indicated as well that she was gifted and obviously, because she was not verbal as such they didn’t test the verbal components, but they tested a range of other components and she scored exceptionally high in those areas.

[00:21:41] So we. It wasn’t that we were surprised because she was obviously a bright kid. She had always been a very keen problem solver and why she couldn’t speak until, two and a half. We always said she didn’t need to, because there was no problem communicating, she could always communicate with exactly what she needed to.

[00:22:03]But, but it kind of was a surprise. Or I’m not really sure what the word is, but. I dunno, it’s just not something you expect, even though we had been through it with our son, it’s just not something you expect. And so it was a surprise, but not a surprise. And what that meant for us was it actually made a whole lot of sense because while she had been having these challenges with speech, we could see, she was a very frustrated kid.

[00:22:35] She obviously had a lot going on in her brain and she wasn’t able to communicate it. Whilst at the same age, my son was probably. Talking nonstop because he’s, he just was born talking and communicating and talking about his ideas. Well, she didn’t have that. She wasn’t able to communicate her ideas and express her interests.

[00:22:59] And in very early on, when she was able to, she actually said, I’ve got a different voice in my head than what comes out of my mouth. She indicated she had stuff going on. And so for her, I think she pushed all of that cognitive ability into the only thing that she could control was being independent.

[00:23:20] So she is a very strong-willed determined, independent child because all of that ability highly abledness got pushed into doing it myself. Which isn’t to say that was easy because if she was unable to do it herself, she would get frustrated, but she would persist. But if you dared help her, even now, she totally, melt down because she had to do it herself because it was so important because she had nothing else that she could control.

[00:23:55] And now yeah. She’s now going to reception at Darra, and we’re very grateful for that opportunity for her. And we know that this is actually going to be the first time that she will experience, just that stretching of her abilities. Just that brain stretch, where she’s going to be in a place where.

[00:24:22] They know who she is and that she’s, she’s, she’s outside of the box. Her kindergarten was brilliant, they were lovely. But it was a very focused around the speech.  And she’s just desperate to do more. She’s desperate to read. She’s fallen in love with numbers and it’s just.

[00:24:44] A huge relief to see that all coming together. But they’re very different people. My son, I would say is in your face, gifted, he opens his mouth and he’ll talk to anyone. And adults in variably say like, how old are you? What grade are you in? And more recently he just kind of goes, well, I’m not really in a grade I’m seven, but I do some grade four maths or grade three maths and grade four science or grade two, we just do what we need to do at my school.  But there, but that compared to my daughter, I think because her speech has been such a and a challenge. Most people have seen the speech challenge first.

[00:25:35] So when they’ve seen her The first, she’s in this, Oh, your, the speech delay box. And she’s more subtle, and she’s, at home, she’s an extrovert. She doesn’t talk any less than my son given the opportunity. But in public she has had to problem solve and she’s problem solved by just not talking.

[00:25:55] And so she’s unlearning that. She’s it’s lovely to see her come out of that shell in public, and that people have seen this delay. First. They’ve seen the, the challenge first rather than see actually there’s this little girl, who’s an incredible problem solver and very thoughtful and sensitive. And.

[00:26:22] And yeah, they’re very different kids. And so I also have a third child now he’s only three, so we have not had him assessed in any way. But he is just like his brother and sister and developmentally in some ways is actually hit some milestones earlier, which is a little bit scary. And he’s actually a bit of both his.

[00:26:44] Yeah, my, my oldest son loves rules. My daughter is very much like rules are optional. She sees them more as guidelines. And if you give her two options, she’ll come up with a third. Whereas my oldest son, if you explain the reasoning behind something, he’ll  even if he doesn’t want to do it, he’ll begrudgingly accept. It’s reasonable to ask him to do it. Whereas my daughter’s like, I don’t care if it’s reasonable and not, if I don’t want to do it, I’m not going to do it. They’re very different people. And my youngest is it’s a mix of both. I don’t know. He’s still unfolding.

[00:27:17] We’re still getting, he’s still, we’re still discovering the kind of person who’s just got. There’s a wicked sense of humor and he. He loves to get into mischief. He’s he? He’s you give him a 60 seconds un supervise. He’ll have that bag of flour on the floor or the whole hummus tin. He is, he loves to explore is pulled something apart or he’s yeah, he just is a bit intense.

[00:27:52] And. And different again. So what I’ve learned as a parent and even in meeting a lot of other parents and gifted kids is this giftedness expresses itself in very different ways from child to child. And so I think that can make it more challenging to understand and and perhaps to identify children and.

[00:28:19] And my motivation behind doing this podcast and website is through that whole journey. We’re in a place now where we’re on top of it. I went and  sussed out a new  preschool for my youngest recently. And it was just right, this is third time round.

[00:28:39] I’m not pulling any punches. I walked in and like, it’s like this, he’s got two older siblings. They’re gifted. He is most likely gifted.

[00:28:47] I need you just to see where this goes and run with it and give him opportunities and know that he might not be engaged with something because it’s too easy. Not because it’s too hard. So you may have to go harder or find a different way to really see where he’s at with things. But my gut feeling right now is he’s really ready for more. He’s really ready for more and I need some help from you as an educator too, to help me give him more because he comes up with stuff all the time and I’m just like, Oh my God, I should be used to this by now, but there’s never getting any used to this. My kids are always saying stuff and I’m just like, Oh my, Oh, well, what, what was that?

[00:29:32] Where did that come from? So parenting gifted kids is really tough and you can feel very alone and it’s easy to think that you’re slightly bonkers. We even tried at one point and, getting my oldest son a mentor at one point a tutor. And I was like, this seems weird, but let’s get a high school science teacher.

[00:29:59] To do some tutoring in science, let’s start at grade eight, and he was like six or something at the time and let’s see what happens. And so I found this lovely teacher who came to our house and the first time they came over, I was in the kitchen and they’re sitting at the table and I’m kind of thinking to myself, what am I doing?

[00:30:23] This is ridiculous. What is this teacher thinking? Oh, I hope I’m not wasting his time, but I just had this gut feeling that my son was just desperate to engage with more, he’s either got all this space content in his head and he was desperate to do something for it. And so the teacher says to him, okay, so we’re going to talk about States of matter.

[00:30:50] Can you name the States of matter for me? And my son’s like, Oh yeah, sure. So you’ve got gas, you’ve got solid. You’ve got liquid, you’ve got plasma and you’ve got, and now I can’t remember what the fifth one was. But he said it was this kind of molecular atom thing. Now demonstrating my ignorance for the fifth state of matter there.

[00:31:15]But it was well beyond me and the teacher kind of went, ah, okay, well, let’s just focus on the first three for now. And I thought, no, he’s going to be fine. And sure enough, they did a number of months of tutoring. And at no point did I see my, my son break a sweat? He just loved it and he was all over it.

[00:31:32] I mean, there are a few new things he learnt, but nothing was a challenge or particularly difficult. And as a parent of the gifted kid, I don’t say that to brag about my kids. Or to make anyone else feel inadequate about their kids. It’s like, this is the challenge and this is the asynchronous development of gifted kids.

[00:31:51] So that means so he is totally age appropriate for his handwriting and for English. Because they’re his least favorite subjects, but when it comes to all things space, I don’t even know where he is at because we have taken him to like lectures at universities and stuff, and he’ll sit there and absorb it.

[00:32:12] And I’m not saying he understands absolutely everything, but he can walk away and have a conversation and  demonstrate the understanding of connections. And that just blows me away. And it’s like, this is one of the challenges that we have is how do you help him as this young person engage with content at this much older level, but it’s still in an age appropriate way.

[00:32:37] It’s really tricky. And so you find yourself doing wacky things like getting a tutor to do grade eight science  and these are just, that’s just one of the many challenges. The they’re very sensitive kids and they’ve got a real compassion and empathy for the world and others, and they need to be around people that they can connect with.

[00:33:03] So that’s a little bit of a story about our family and our kids. And. And hopefully just sharing a bit of understanding about why, it’s a couple of years later, I’ve met a lot more parents and gifted kids and over and over again, I hear these stories that just devastate me. Like they just break me like this, so sad.

[00:33:30] And I just feel like we need to talk about this. There needs to be a narrative around. Gifted kids and we need the community to understand them. So we don’t have this taboo about talking about them because there is absolutely a taboo and there’s a lot of misunderstanding. And I hear that all the time from parents or that a lot of educators just don’t know enough.

[00:33:57] Recently I was talking to someone and their four year old had, was at a very prestigious expensive school. And yet they had just broken him. They treated them as though he was naughty.  And the thing that I struggle with is this idea that kids even at this young age, don’t know that they’re different because they do, my son at five, I was observing him one day in the playground and. I could see him desperate to engage with his peers. And at the time it was all about Googleplex and planet nine, and he was trying to talk to them about these topics.

[00:34:40] But of course, no one else was interested. And I was just watching him bounce around the playground from one kid to another desperate, to connect, but unable to connect and no wonder he was sad, and he was a popular kid. Like lots of people liked him, but no one could. Engage with him on those things.

[00:34:59]Which why now at Dara, I, you know, I love, I love hearing the stories. And another mum was saying I think there’s a couple of weeks after her son had started  and. He’d come home. And he was talking about black holes. He’d learned all about black holes that day. And the mom was like, Oh, that’s awesome. What class did you hear? Did you learn about black holes in he’s like, Oh, no, it was one of my friends. It was at lunchtime and she was just like, that’s brilliant. And they do, they they’re in this little community of like-minded peers.

[00:35:34] So they’re not all the same age. They’re all. Lower primary or upper primary, but they’re all interested in the same things, within reason. But they’re able to connect and if they weren’t talking about black holes or talking about black holes, or my son will often say, Oh, the human body, Oh, that’s such and such as a topic.

[00:35:55] Go talk. Yeah, I’ll need, let’s talk to such and such about that, and they recognize each other’s. Deep interests in things. And he’ll be like, Oh, I’m, The all about space and such as such as a space person too. And it’s just accepting of each other’s passions and intense, interests in things.

[00:36:15] And may obviously talk about Dara a bit because it have been a big part of our experience, but I think there’s also, I’ve learnt a lot from that experience. And I’ve learned a lot about the necessity to find your tribe. Find that community of people where you can safely tell the stories and someone gets it and they’re not going to be offended because they’re feeling like you’re bragging about your kids or anything like that.

[00:36:41] And so these are some of the challenges.

[00:36:42] Our challenges are different than no less hard. It’s not all sunshine and daisies because your kid is gifted. It’s parenting is hard, full stop parenting and gifted kid is also hard.  And it’s not a competition, it’s not saying parenting gifted kids is harder than parenting a kid who isn’t, it’s not about that.

[00:37:03] It’s just parenting is hard, full stop. And it’s important for us to have a safe place to talk about parenting gifted kids, because there are some quirks and characteristics that mean that there are. Particular challenges with this group of people, with these group of children and as parents, I think we need that support of each other.

[00:37:28] And we need to be able to talk to the experts who work with gifted kids to get that help. And so what I want to do in this podcast and website, and it’s going to develop over the next 12 months is to bring those resources together for parents. So I look forward to talking to you more in future podcasts.

[00:37:48] So we’re going to talk to some experts about all things gifted and provide insights into gifted kids and some support and ideas for parents. And also just have that narrative with the general population about when it used to be gifted so that we can have those conversations more.

[00:38:10] I don’t want to say safely, but more easily without fear of repercussion, we don’t want to be that tall poppy that constantly gets chopped down and we can’t even talk about how difficult it is or get help because we feel like there’s not that place for us, that safe space to have those conversations.

[00:38:29]Thank you very much for your time today. If you’re someone who works with gifted kids and you want to get in touch, please do I’d love to talk to you and share what you have with our community. If you’re a parent, you’ve got particular questions or a story that you would like to share, get in touch because, I want to see what the big issues are.

[00:38:52] For us, so we can talk about them and connect with people who can provide us with some insight and some advice. So thank you very much for your time today. And I look forward to talking to you more next week.


#008 Top Secret Parent Talk About Santa

#008 Top Secret Parent Talk About Santa

Top Secret Parent Talk About Santa

In our final episode of the year, let’s talk about Santa!

All those questions! How does Santa fly around the world in one night? Where do all the gifts come from?

As parents, it is hard to know what to say about Santa so in this episode we share one way of having the ‘Santa’ conversation that is sure to work!

Hit play and let’s get started!

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See you in the same place next week.


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00:00:00               Hello, and welcome to this week’s podcast. I’m delighted to be having a chat with you today because today we’re talking top secret parent, talk about Santa. Hi, I’m Sophia Elliot. As a parent of three gifted kids. I’m here to talk about all things gifted because I’ve been isolated and uncertain. And I felt like that parent, then I found peace of mind support and my community.

00:00:30               This podcast is about sharing that journey, actually parenting gifted kids and connecting with advice and support. So we have everything we need for every member of our family to thrive. This is the, our gifted kid podcast. Hello, and welcome to the Christmas edition of our gifted kids podcast. Today, we’re talking top secret parent, talk about Santa. So if you have little ears nearby,

00:01:01               I’m going to pause for a moment. So you can slip on some headphones and listen to the podcast in absolute secrecy and confidence. Okay, go do it now. That’s it right. Are we ready? Parents? Let’s talk. Santa’s if you’re like me and you’ve got three or gifted children or children, then inevitably you get questions about Santa. And so as parents,

00:01:28               how do we deal with this? I know with our kids, like many parents of gifted kids, you get lots of questions, lots of questions over and over again, all day, you get questions. And we always try to answer those questions. Truthfully, honestly, we deal with the information and facts and figures because we can get very deep in some of the questions that we have,

00:01:54               but when it comes to Santa, it can be a bit tricky for parents. So I don’t want to lie to my children, but how do we deal with Santa? I know that when we had our first child, my husband and I sat down, had a conversation about Santa, how are we going to approach the whole Santa thing? Eventually we,

00:02:15               we were like, yeah, okay, we’re going to do Santa. We’re going to do the magic of Christmas, the spirit of Santa. And so we have three children who I think still believe in Santa. There was a period a couple of years ago where our eldest asked them lots of questions. And sometimes I get a sense that he’s going along for the ride is very science based to child,

00:02:45               into rockets and space travel. So I’m sure that the questions he has about how Santa delivers gifts around the entire world in one single night would be deep. But I think at the moment he’s going from the flow because we have a younger four year old who just, he’s just really getting into the groove of Christmas. And it’s still very, very exciting.

00:03:08               And a six year old who is still very much in love with Christmas, but I feel as though there is a conversation coming, it hasn’t happened this year, but I have a feeling it might be soon. So what are we going to say to him when we talk about Christmas? Well, I remember reading this post on Facebook quite a few years ago and I really loved it.

00:03:35               And at the time I told my husband all about it and he’s like, yeah, okay, let’s do that. So I did a bit of digging today to find, see if I could find that post, which is like a needle in a haystack on Facebook, but I did actually manage to find reference to it in an article online. And I would love to credit this post to someone,

00:03:56               but the best I can do is in a non notice parents, even the article had no idea where it came from originally, but it’s beautiful. And it talks about the idea of Santa. So without children, we have lots of conversations about facts and figures, and they’re very much true, but I think what’s interesting is there, there is a truth based on fact,

00:04:24               and there is also a truth based on legend. And I think of course, Santa comes into this category. Santa himself is based on a real person, Saint Nicholas, who gave presents to children and, and cared for those who are less fortunate. And there’s a real history around that person. And then of course, the legend grew from that ACO.

00:04:48               And we can think a certain soft drink provider for the current form of Santa in his Jolie, red coat, and a bit of clever marketing for the Santa that we have today. But nonetheless, the truth of that legend grew from a truth based in fact, a long time ago. And I think that that explanation in part is one that gifted children will understand and appreciate.

Continue Reading Transcript Here...

00:05:17               So a part of this conversation that I read about on Facebook is based in the idea of Santa as truth and Santa as legend, and I was able to find it. So I’m going to actually read it out because it’s a bit lovely. So this particular parent says when your child is of an appropriate age, whenever you see that dawning suspicion, that Santa may not be a material being that means a child is ready,

00:05:49               ready for this conversation. And she says, I don’t know, I’m saying she might not be a mum, could be a dad. She says, I take them out for coffee at the local cafe or wherever we get a booth. We order our drinks. And the following pronouncement is made. You shall have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller,

00:06:13               but I can see that your heart has grown too. You are a very generous and thoughtful sibling. You’ve been very caring with your friends and you’ve been very helpful with mom and dad around the house. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you’re ready to become a Santa Claus. You have probably noticed that most of the centers, you see a people dressed up like him,

00:06:44               some of your friends might even have told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that because they aren’t ready to be Santa yet, but you are. And it says, we then have a conversation with our child to choose someone they know, and to be Santa for that person. The child’s admission is to secretly, deviously find out something that the person needs and then provide it,

00:07:13               wrap it, deliver it, and never reveal to the target where it came from being center or being a center. Isn’t about getting credit. You see it’s unselfish giving. And I love this idea. I love this idea of sitting down with my child and explaining that Santa came from a real person who did a beautiful act of giving and caring. And it was so beautiful that the community held onto that act of giving.

00:07:46               It became a legend and the reason why Santa lives and the reason why Santa is real because Santa is within all of this. We make him real. We make him real by continuing those acts of giving kindness and caring to one another. So Santa is real. Santa is in us. And now that you are old enough, you too can be Santa.

00:08:15               You can be responsible for giving, loving and caring. You can be responsible for bringing that joy to someone else who still believes in Santa. And I look forward to having this conversation. I think soon with my oldest child, because as a very thoughtful, sensitive individual, as many gifted children are, I think he will really recognize what that legend brings to us as a society honoring,

00:08:49               caring, giving, loving in this way. And I think that he will really revel in having that responsibility of bringing that joy to someone else. I can see us getting him involved in making that happen for his younger siblings. I imagine when we ask them in the future, what do you want from Santa this year that he will enjoy being a part of that you may even ask them himself.

00:09:20               So what are you going to ask Centre to bring you this year? And I think that’s going to be a very special moment for us and for him. And then as each child gets a bit older to have that very special moment with them as a family and also bring them in on that bigger conversation of what does Christmas mean to us? What does Christmas mean to our family and think even for yourself as a parent,

00:09:52               why do you do it? What does it mean to you? Certainly it’s about spending time with family. It’s about showing them. We care. One of the traditions that we have had as a family at Christmas is a game that we play. It’s a fabulous game and it’s a game about gifts, but there’s a twist at the end, which makes it actually not about the gifts,

00:10:20               not about the thing. So I’ll explain it to you. Imagine you’re all gathered on Christmas day and you’ve got all your family over and you’re all sitting down. You’ve had your Christmas mail and then everyone brings out little gifts that they have bought in preparation for this game. Now, the idea is everyone brings half a dozen little gifts. Now it’s not about the value of the gift.

00:10:49               And you’ll see why in a minute, but everyone puts the gifts on the table. So you have this table over overflowing with little gifts. Then you get out a set of dice and you roll the dice and you each take turns going around the table, rolling the dice. And if you’re a particularly big family, as we have been some Christmases with everyone making it,

00:11:10               we have had two sets of dice going around the table. It’s as pure carnage. So you roll the dice. And if you get a double, so two twos, two threes to fours, you’ve got to get two of the same thing. If you’re all to of the same thing, you get to pick a present off the table and put it in front of you.

00:11:28               But you do not open it. You pass the dice on to the next person. They roll the dice. Sometimes you get to, sometimes you don’t and you pass it on to the next person. You’ve got to do it quickly. And so the next person may get a double. And if they get a double, they get to pick a present from the middle of the table.

00:11:47               So the dice goes around the table like this, and you keep rolling the dice, picking gifts. Every time you get double. Now, eventually the gifts run out, but you do not stop rolling the dice at any time in the game. Even before the gifts have run out, it is perfectly acceptable. Nah, absolutely encouraged to take a gift from someone else.

00:12:12               Now, if you’ve got little people at the table, of course you do have to gauge this a little. If they’re in on the game, it’s a lot of fun. If they’re a little bit like don’t take my presence, they can be tears. So a word of caution there. However, the idea is you roll the dice, you get a double,

00:12:29               you take a gift either from the table or from someone else. Now, as you can imagine, if you took a gift from someone else and they rolled a double will, they may well want that gift back. And then someone else on the table might decide, well, actually I won’t get, get that gift. And so we have had years where we have had one or two particular gifts that have gone from one end of the table to the other end of the table in a bit of a game to see who could get that particular gift.

00:12:58               And we have had years when it’s been quite funny to actually everyone takes, say grandpa’s gifts or often if you take someone’s gift, then they’ll take one off you. And it becomes a very funny game of stealing gifts, as awful as that sounds out loud, I’m sorry. It does work. And it’s a brilliant so that you keep rolling the dice.

00:13:29               You’ve got no gifts left. We will often put a timer or say right, 15 more minutes of dice rolling. And then you get to open. Whatever is in front of you. At the end of that time, after 15 minutes of rolling the dice and taking a gift from someone, someone else, and then take them maybe taking it back, or maybe they might get it from,

00:13:50               from somewhere else on the table. And because sometimes people end up with a big pile and, and people at the table like, hang on, you’ve got too many gifts and I’ll take one from you or, or all sorts of shenanigans can occur. But the funny thing about this game is at the end, when you finished rolling the dice, now this is gone on for some 20 or 30 minutes.

00:14:11               By this point, often you get to the end of the game and everyone opens their gifts only to find out that the one gift that has gone back and forth across the table for like 10 or 15 minutes being stolen from one person. And then the next ends up being a roll of toilet paper. And it’s hilarious because it’s not about the gift it’s about the game and the gifts are often silly.

00:14:35               Things like that. A roll of toilet paper, a box of tissues, maybe a few chocolates, maybe a little kit. There’s usually some nice gifts as in something that’s a little bit cool. And then a whole bunch of funny gifts or just something that’s very unexpected and not anticipated. And of course that just becomes the next joke is because you’ve been spending all this time,

00:15:02               fighting over a roll of toilet paper. And it’s a great opportunity on Christmas day to laugh, to join in the game of, of giving and taking. And that is Christmas, I guess, but at the end, realizing it’s not about the gift. It’s about sitting at the table together, laughing and playing because for me, that’s what makes Christmas,

00:15:27               it’s that sitting at the table, laughing and playing, hanging around. Yes, eating lots. I’m definitely a food loving person, but also just Moochie and watching that Christmas movie or this year, we’ve got hot weather here in Australia. We’ll be having a swim on Christmas day. So whatever your traditions are and whatever conversations you have with your children about Santa,

00:15:56               as they get older, as they ask those questions, it’s an opportunity for us to let them in, to move from believing in Santa, to being Santa, from being a child. And to some extent, being swept along on Christmas day, to becoming a young person and having a sense of input around some of our traditions and what we do on Christmas day and being a part of that preparation,

00:16:29               because now they’re a center too. So I hope that you have a lovely Christmas after what has been a very intense year. And I hope that you get a lot of laughter and joy on your Christmas day, because I know that Christmas can also be a very challenging time for some people. So thank you very much for joining our gifted kids this year.

00:16:55               It has been incredibly exciting to start the conversation about giftedness. And I greatly appreciate everyone who has come on the podcast so far. We’ve got some wonderful guests lined up already for next year, and I’m very excited to be bringing them to you. So have a wonderful Christmas, have a wonderful holidays. And I look forward to continuing the conversation next year.

00:17:19               Bye. If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments for more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast. Please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources@ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. See you in the same place next week.

#006 Is Montessori a good match for giftedness?

#006 Is Montessori a good match for giftedness?

Is Montessori a good match for giftedness? – Selena’s Story

Today I’m speaking with Selena about uncovering her child’s giftedness and her experience of Montessori in the early years.

In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Accepting her son is gifted and trying not to be that parent
  • Her son hiding himself when his needs were not met in early years learning
  • Re-learning how to learn at school when he did find the right place
  • Why the assessment was so helpful
  • One child and different Montessori experiences in the early years

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“School became about play and social stuff – it wasn’t about learning it was about hanging out with your mates… it’s kind of sad because they are hungry for something and they aren’t getting that at school.” – Selena

“He hid…. He was very quiet, he was very introverted. He learnt that when you’re in the classroom you shut up, you don’t ask questions, you don’t get involved and then play time is when you come alive… and that did a lot of damage.” – Selena  

“Now he’s at the right school, now he’s at Dara where they actually understand his brain and how it works and can meet his needs [but] it’s taken a couple of terms to re-learn that school was where we learnt.” – Selena

“I think he just wasn’t able to be himself and he was managing that by shutting down at school and then getting vivaciously hungry for whatever he could get outside of it.” – Selena

“It’s not about the label… but it’s about the information that that report gives… and it helped me so much to understand my son.” – Selena


Subscribe & Review

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments.

For more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast please leave a review.

You can find show notes and more resources at www.ourgiftedkids.com

See you in the same place next week.


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00:00:00               I’m delighted today to talk to Selena Woodward, CEO of edgy folios, and host of the reflective teacher podcast about the journey of discovering that her son was gifted. Hi, I’m Sophia Elliot as a parent of three gifted kids. I’m here to talk about all things gifted because I’ve been isolated and uncertain. And I felt like that parent, then I found peace of mind support and my community.

00:00:31               This podcast is about sharing that journey, actually parenting gifted kids and connecting with advice and support. So we have everything we need for every member of our family to thrive. This is the, our gifted kid podcast. Salina. Welcome. Thank you for coming in today and having a chat with us. Thank you for having me. It’s awesome to be here.

00:00:52               Lovely. And we’re here today to talk about your son. You are, you definitely are. Yes. And our experiences together discovering this whole gifted business. Yes. And in the name of full disclosure, Selena and I are friends and there was a friendship by fire that’s. We went, we went through this journey at the same time and, and yeah,

00:01:13               it sort of, it has bonded us in a special way. I think our kids found each other and then their United situation created a situation that United everybody together. Yeah, that’s right. So the background is of course, that Selena’s son and my son went to school together and yeah. Found each other in that mix. Selena is the friend who kind of first said to us that,

00:01:37               you know, your kids probably gifted. Right. And we were like, Oh, what does that mean? And so your background is, of course you’re the CEO and founder of EDU folios. And your background is you’re an English teacher and trained in the UK. So you were kind of in that education zone, but let’s go back a little bit first.

00:02:01               Let’s talk about your son and the early days, even given your training to spot these little kids, you know, did you see things in your son as he was growing up or that you think about my training? I’m a high school English and drama teacher. And I have had the pleasure of working with gifted kids in that high school setting. But it’s very different in the early years.

00:02:24               And also being a parent and a teacher, you become very conscious of the fact that you don’t want to railroad another teacher based on what you believe should be happening. And you get really conscious of not being that parent that you’ve experienced yourself. So in some ways, although I’m totally trained to identify a gifted child in the context of my English or drama classroom,

00:02:48               having a baby and only one baby. So there were no other babies to compare the baby to that. This was my experience. I live on the other side of the planet to my family. So even my nieces and nephews, I wasn’t hanging around with them. So I didn’t have that reference either. Absolutely. So many of us these days that don’t have that broader family.

00:03:08               And I was the same, like I had no point of reference. I didn’t know any other kids, babies, little people. Yeah. So it’s tricky, isn’t it Totally junkie. And thinking back in hindsight, there were heaps of clues, but I guess I, and I had a gut feeling about it for a long time that I ignored, which I totally regret,

00:03:26               by the way we can talk about that later. But I, I think I always knew that he was really with it. Like he’s always been a really old soul. Like he was born a wrinkly 80 year old Man, what he’s doing As the soul of a, of an older gentleman. And it’s hard to just TRIBE that thing is, you know,

00:03:46               like my youngest, I mean, all my kids, but particularly my youngest sit at the moment he, he just gets stuff. Yeah. And he’s always just got it. And it’s sort of a very intangible thing, but I think that’s kind of it, isn’t it. Yeah. Even when he was born, he got full marks on that first test.

Continue Reading Transcript Here...

00:04:02               They do too. Like, are you awake? Are you alert? He was smiling within like 30 minutes. And of course everyone’s going, Oh no, they can’t smile at this age. That’s just wind. And you’re like, no, that’s a smile. He’s like looking at the camera. He’s alert. He’s like not supposed to be doing that stuff.

00:04:16               Yeah. He was born being curious and asking questions in a baby way, which involved a lot of screaming. Yeah. Justin was never a good sleeper, always needed to be with me, always needed constant stimulation. And he taught, he spoke really early. So he did lots of things really early, but I didn’t know that that wasn’t normal. If that makes sense.

00:04:41               Until he got to know, you go to play groups, even when he was a tiny baby, like he would be trying to Nick the sandwiches at the mother’s group when he was like four or five and everyone else’s baby, wouldn’t be doing that, but he’d be reaching for sandwiches. So he was like, he always wanted to be like the grownups.

00:04:58               He didn’t really, he wasn’t really interested in this babyhood business. He was not ready to do the grownup stuff really early on. As soon as he could speak, then yeah. He, it was easier for him to communicate obviously. So it was less frustrated and that made a massive difference before that, before he could speak, he would just point at things until we got it.

00:05:16               And he’d just look at us. Like we were stupid. Like I pointed at that now that I’ve got lots of photographs of him dramatically pointing at things, that’s mother, it’s just really strange. That’s what I mean, like he’s an old soul. Like he, it was like inside. He knew what he wanted to communicate. He knew what he was trying to say,

00:05:33               but he just hadn’t. My husband makes me laugh because when he was born, bless him. He said, I didn’t realize they came formatted. Now I should, I should let you know that my husband’s a developer. So he didn’t realize that you had to build the operating system. And it’s kind of like that just in had, I think all the code in his head,

00:05:49               but he didn’t have the user interface to respond to us. Isn’t to make it sound like a proper nerd. I wonder where he gets it from, you know, like, so it was like, it was all in there and it was very frustrating for him. And the more skills he got around communication, the better, the easier it became for him when he started preschool.

00:06:06               And I chose Montessori for him very early on, because I knew there was something a bit different about him. And the Montessori philosophy was obviously about meeting your child where they were at. And we had varying degrees of success with that at different places, because obviously Montessori is a philosophy how our school material fits that philosophy is open to interpretation. Yeah. And I had similar experience.

00:06:28               We went to a few different Montessori places and it is really interesting because they do all interpret it differently. And so we had varying degrees of success somewhere like a amazing and some, Oh yeah. Very not amazing. And we will, but what you’re saying though, is reminding me a lot of my middle child and when she was born, it was,

00:06:52               there was no crying. She just had these giant Ganti blue eyes. And she was just awake here for like three hours with these eyes, Lord. Well like, Oh, I’m here, like taking it all in, in everything. It was amazing. I’m like, and she was my second. So I’m like, I think he should be like crying and sleeping,

00:07:10               but she was just looking at everything and she was slow in developing her speech. But she communicated it expertly. Like you, there was never any wondering about what she was trying to communicate because it was front and center. There was no, we used to joke. She didn’t need to talk because she, you know, yeah, that’s right. And they do.

00:07:34               I mean, Justin wasn’t earlier, everything like, he really couldn’t be bothered to move. Like he worked out very early on that there were ways to get other people to do your bidding. So like A lot of people say, Oh, my kid was walking at 10 months just, and didn’t bother walking until well, after he was one, he didn’t ever crawl either.

00:07:50               He just missed that out. He just got up and walked. He was like, all right, actually I quite fancy that over there. And you’re not understanding me. I better get up and get that. It was a bit like that. I used to take him to baby gym or anything to get him to move. We’d be like, nah,

00:08:02               that, that I want that. Yeah. But no, say it wasn’t Some of those typical signs that you hear a lot in the forums, he didn’t have everything like that, but there was just something about him and knowing a knowledge, this what? Old wisdom. I don’t know. Something that’s really weird. There’s something going on behind those eyes.

00:08:20               Yeah. He going back to the Montessori thing, I think The very first Montessori we took him to, we had to take him out of, because he got this’ll make you laugh. Cause this is very interested. He got very fascinated with the one child who bit with obviously doing some experiments in, why does she bite? What do I do to get her to buy?

00:08:38               This is very interesting. So, and there was nothing they could do because he would just be lying for this child. And then basically annoy her until she bit him. I know. Sorry Did take him out of that one. It wasn’t the best experience. I was really more defied because nobody wants their child to come home with bite marks, but he just wouldn’t stop.

00:08:57               He just kept going. Yeah. I’m just intrigued by why she’s going on. She’s been me. Why interesting. Let’s do another experiment. So, And after that, we went to this really beautiful Montessori school and there were lots of different kinds of kids there as well. And I guess very early on one of the key things that made me go,

00:09:14               Hmm. Apart from all of that behavior is the speaking because they thought he was brilliant at that Montessori. And they were really open to seeing what he could do next. They just thought it was great fun. And they would be like, he really freaks me out. And we’re like, and I’ll be like, why? It’s like, he talks like a 24 year old.

00:09:29               He’s like two. So then what are we going to do today? Have you thought about this? I’ve got a great idea. All the phrases that I still hear now, I don’t know about anyone else listening. But when my son says mom, I’ve got a great idea. A small sense of dread builds up like, Oh God, what now what’s happening now?

00:09:47               And they were really good with him. And at that age, it was really hard for him because the other children couldn’t speak the same way. I used to spend a lot of time with adults. So I’m really with the kids, which caused problems with him later, in terms of understanding how to enter into play and things. He didn’t really know how to play with the kids cause he wanted to do different things.

00:10:07               He wanted to talk and experiment, not play the way they played. He’d kind of moved past that and it created this sort of social, but weirdness. So he would used to joke cause we used to go to play dates and he’d just walk up the kids and just smile at them with this really broad smile. And that was his hello. I’m just a,

00:10:23               do you want to play? And some of them would be okay with that. And some of them would just look at him like it was weird and carry on, you know? And it took some time to teach him how to, how to get involved in their games. So if they’re playing an imaginative, play their moms and dads or whatever, he didn’t really know how to enter into that narrative because he didn’t really work that way.

00:10:43               But to teach him how to find out what the story was and how to create a character in that story and join the play and that kind of thing, which was really interesting because he did have really high functioning skills in speaking and communicating, but it was almost like he was communicating on a different plane or level. Not that it was better. It was just different to what his peers were doing.

00:11:04               Yeah. And it’s hard, I think for them to find that connection. So my oldest was similar. You would watch him wandering around the playground at that sort of five age And you Could see him and you know, he’s a great communicator is he’s always had lots of friends, very sociable. But by then he had all this stuff in his head and he was desperate to talk to people.

00:11:28               Yeah. Have a conversation about, you could see him go up to a child and he’d be like, Oh, I don’t know, black holes. Yeah. But it’d be Amber. And they’d just be like, what? And he would, there’d be no connection there. And they would run off and play and he’d be like, Oh, who else can I talk to about absolutely it’s finder the gifted kid here because when they find someone who’s conversation an old person,

00:11:54               Then they’re like, Oh great, awesome. Let’s just sit under this tree and chat or not. Let’s come up with some elaborate game, which is completely different to it’s always rules that we changed how we’re feeling about that. Yeah. So I guess there was that the talking was a big thing. And then because I’m an English teacher, reading and writing is always big in our house.

00:12:15               I actually went on a course to learn jolly phonics. And there’ll be teachers out there now who will be going, I know jolly phonics, but it was good. I needed to learn something because I’d never taught the early stages of reading. I don’t need the high school stuff. And he was really interested in the words in books. I’d always read to him.

00:12:34               I played games with him. I’d play it with your, your middle one. Now I say, right, you find a word and read it to me. And you have to read that word the whole way through every time it comes up, that kind of thing. And he liked those games. And he just got really curious about this pattern, that this language.

00:12:49               So I taught him to read, we went through jolly phonics together. And I just learned from that lime tree literacy was the place I learned that from, if anyone wants to go, there’s an online course you can do. If anyone’s interested, great resources. And I just went through that. And then I, I basically taught that to him. And everyone was like,

00:13:06               I felt like everyone was sort of saying to me, well, you’re pushing him. He’s not interested, but it wasn’t coming from me. It was totally coming from him. He was super keen to do that. He wanted to learn this new way of communicating. And so at the second Montessori where he was at, they were really good with this.

00:13:22               So when he was two, he was coming home with sight words. He had little books, the very early readers and he was learning to read them. You’re like the cats on the mat, those cat are really basic ones. And he was really into it. Yeah. And the great thing about that Montessori was it was set up in the way that I understand Montessori to be,

00:13:39               and that it was a big hall with different zones in it. So it had the reading literacy corner, it had the maths bit, it had the home bit, you know, and, and he basically got to choose how he spent his time in his day. And that really suits him because he likes to dive deep. It doesn’t want to be interrupted every hour to do something else.

00:13:59               And he doesn’t necessarily even want to go outside unless he’s exploring something all the time. And obviously we had to work on that because those social skills needed to happen and they do, he’s fine now we’ve worked that out. But you know, like he would quite happily spend the day in the corner in the reading room or he would spend a few days playing with the numbers and the sound finger numbers and things like that.

00:14:20               He was, and they encourage that and they let him just go and they would just be like, Oh, what else can this child do? And I, and he used to freak them out as well. Cause he used to do this really odd thing, but don’t know if anyone else has experienced this, where he would tell us all stories about old mom and dad.

00:14:36               So he had this whole narrative for the first three, three and a half, four years of his life, about a previous mom and dad and a previous life. It was really odd. Oh wow. That’s interesting. It was really, really interesting. And I was never sure if this was a figment of his imagination or something, but that was all part of this maturity.

00:14:55               It was really weird. He was always really mature. Like he wasn’t behaving like a toddler should I don’t think, not that I would know, but he was very different in that way. And yet, because I’m a teacher, I think I was really hard on myself and I wouldn’t accept it. And people had said to me, Oh, you know,

00:15:13               he’s gifted. And I’d be like, Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know about that. I don’t know. He’s he’s bright, but you know, he’s fine. Fine. And it wasn’t until he wasn’t fine. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because obviously you have to go start kindie and you have to go to school when you’re not at like a little preschool anymore.

00:15:29               Yeah. So he had a great experience at preschool. He really was. And I think that’s a challenging thing as well as a parent. Like we, we don’t<inaudible> period or pushy, but we can see where our child or children getting interest. And we’d like to support them in that interest. And I think sometimes people will look at you and go,

00:15:50               Oh, Your, you know, taking Your child to lectures or, or DSG and them to read a, you must be a pushy parent, but it’s actually, it’s like, no, this is where they’re going. This is, this is what they’re after. And we’re just nurturing that and feeding that interest. I’m just curious to see what happened.

00:16:08               Can you cope? Like Jason could go to the theater really early on. A lot of people got it when type market. Now you quite happily sit in a theater and watch a little play or whatever. So I just went with it and just see what happens. That’s right. Yeah. You do. You just kind of go and because, You know,

00:16:22               I didn’t know any better. Well, you know, other kids, it was all very normal for us. So we would just kind of exactly see where they go or you’re interested in the human body. Well, he’s our relative many relatives were nurses. So we had all sorts of, you know, equipment and things to feed that knowledge and curiosity.

00:16:41               And, but, but I certainly felt myself that I think particularly with Some teachers, not all of them, there was that real kind of feeling that all you’re, you’re being pushy or you’re pushing something that’s not there. Or I don’t know. I just felt that it was back on us sometimes. And I know, and it really wasn’t. And I think So you’ve had this experience with Triston.

00:17:06               He’s been at this great Montessori. They’ve really just kind of what helps being Oh Dude. Yeah, absolutely. And often Say, you know, I don’t want my kids to be limited by that lack of imagination of the grownups around them. So in some people have that imagination and they’re happy to go with it. And other people just can’t quite except,

00:17:24               you know, outside the mold. So he had this great experience at preschool and then he moved, and this is where we met at different Montessori schools. Yeah. Yeah. So how did that go? I should have known, I should never have enrolled in there. Cause even in the interview with the principal, I actually said, and this was a big leap for me.

00:17:46               I think he might be gifted. And the said, Oh, we don’t use labels here. And that was his response. And I thought, Oh, okay, well maybe that’s a Montessori thing. And maybe they’ve got different ways of describing it. They meet children where they’re at. And I felt like a little Pang of woo warning alarms. And I was like,

00:18:02               no, you’re being that person again. You’re being Parent. Cause no one wants to be that parent. Right. It’s just this fear. It’s huge. It’s huge to BU and fierce like, Oh, we don’t want to be that parent. And sometimes I think that stops us from following our intuition and going, you know what I’m, I need to be that parent right now.

00:18:18               And eventually I had to learn that lesson and I ended up, it was really awkward for me cause I also lecture at the local uni and him and his teacher eventually was actually one of my ex students as well, which added an extra dimension. So unless you’re in teacher education As well, that added an extra dimension of complexity. But before I even got to that class,

00:18:37               he was in the Gindi class and I handed to them because part of the Montessori philosophy is a portfolio. And so Tristan took a portfolio with him with examples of what he was reading. I lovely all sorts of stuff. And that basically never got read or if it did get red, it got dismissed because they wouldn’t give him readers. I had to fight for six months because that’s what you do in reception,

00:19:00               not in kindie, which is doesn’t line up with the Montessori philosophy of that cycle. I went there thinking cycle one, which is what they described those first few years would be cycle one. So thinking if he’s in kindie and he’s probably a year or two ahead cycle one will be a great place for him because he’ll get to integrate with the kids who are at that level.

00:19:18               But they separate them. The kin, they were in the same room, but there was a bookshelf between them and they weren’t playing together in the yard or there was a definite line cycle. One was split. And that was a problem for him. He was also writing beginning to write at home. And at the time I thought that his teachers had been helping him with that.

00:19:40               And I’ll never forget going into a parent interview thing and saying, Oh thank you so much. Tristan’s been writing on his whiteboard at home. He wrote a whole sentence the other day. It’s really impressive. Thank you so much for helping him with that. And she said, what do you mean he’s writing? I’ve never seen him write his name. Oh no.

00:19:56               And I was like, Oh, so it turns out that my child had basically been teaching himself and obviously observing me at home and I’ve been helping him cause I would, but it was nothing to do with what was happening at school. And at school, he was basically not allowed to be who he was at the last school he was at on the upside.

00:20:17               That place did a lot of work with him on his social skills. That’s what they picked up. That was their thing. And they taught him all those skills about how to get involved in the play. And that was really valuable. And I was okay with that, taking a forefront for a while because that is a really essential skill, but it started to become,

00:20:34               it started to become a really negative experience for him. And it was clear that Tristan was choosing not to show them what he knew, which means for me that he was obviously being told the message that we’re not in that or feeling shamed about being able to do those things. Yeah. Why do you think that was, Do you, did you ever get the more of a,

00:20:56               It’s interesting just learnt that at that place. That’s not where we learn. We do that when we get home and our weekends would we fall of STEM clubs and after school and, and obviously it was only a couple of days a week then, so you’d go to the STEM club at the library and you’d have this four or five-year-old rock up. And the guy would like,

00:21:11               this is for seven year olds. You’re like, yeah, yeah. Just give it a go. And then you’d be like, and then obviously your son would be with them and they’d just be answering all the questions. Okay then. Sure. And that was great because I found those people outside of the school who would be like, fair enough. You can stay,

00:21:26               you clearly can cope with this. Let’s see what else we could do. We had that curiosity coming out of outside people working with them, but he just wasn’t getting that at school. So, because I think they’d focus so much on that social aspect, school became about play and social stuff. It wasn’t about learning. It was about hanging out with your mates and then learning how to play.

00:21:45               Yeah. My oldest, obviously Tristan’s friend exactly the same school became somewhere he played. And then when he got home, he learns, he would spend four hours. Kids are home right now and I’m a teacher. So part of me is like, yeah, but also like it’s kind of sad because they’re hungry for something and they’re not getting it at school.

00:22:07               Well, yeah, In the end for us, it became unsustainable. It became a point of depression for him. And it resulted in some really unhealthy behavior because he, he wasn’t getting what he needed. And so how did that, it’s going to manifest itself with Tristan. Did you see that sort of stuff or, or did he just hide? Heidi went really quiet.

00:22:32               So by the time he’d been there, we’d been there for two to bit years. Cause he did kindie and then he’d started, he left halfway through reception at that point I’d had enough. Yeah. And look, I think in some ways they, there are things they did with him. There was one teacher, particularly who, who worked quite well with him on maths and things were doing a lot of gold bead work.

00:22:51               If you’re familiar with Montessori, that’s not something we normally do at those lower levels. Look it up. It’s very interesting, but it felt like Tristan could never tell me what he was learning. And when I went to school to visit, you know, they’d be doing the little plays or something. And my son is out there. Like he’s like me,

00:23:09               he’s very, he’s an extrovert. Like he does not care. He will dance. He was saying, he will have some fun, but at school that’s not who he was. He was very quiet. He was very introverted. He learned that when you’re in the classroom, you shut up, you don’t ask questions, you don’t get involved. And then playtime is when he came alive,

00:23:27               I’d got it wrong. I got it all backwards. And that did a lot of damage because now he’s at the right school. Cause he’s now, he’s now at Darra where they actually understand his brain and how it works and can meet his needs. It’s taken, it took him a couple of terms to relearn that school was where we learned. And we are Nina.

00:23:46               We got our weekends back and our evenings back and we’ll have a normal kid in inverted commas. You know, if there is such a thing after school now, while he wants to play games or soccer or go skateboarding, that’s his thing. You know, like he’s got things now that are not academic because he’s getting that met at his school. So I don’t think he was depressed,

00:24:04               but I think he just went, he wasn’t able to be himself. And he was managing that by shutting down at school and then getting vivaciously hungry for whatever he needed outside of it. So at what point did, did it sort of all hit the wall so to speak? At what point did you go, okay, we need to get an assessment done,

00:24:24               see what we’re dealing with, you know, how did that sort of pan out? Yeah. Well I knew about your experience and Yeah, cause we were just really a couple of months ahead Because I said, you know, your kid is because yeah, that totally ticks every box. He’s ridiculous. He’s like he is a walking example, poster child.

00:24:42               And from my training in the UK, I could see all of that. Just the way he spoke, the way articulated himself, the rate at which he devoured information, the hunger for that, there was just lots about him that ticked every box. There’s an in your face gift. He totally CTS all the boxes, but they all are really, I can tell them my life.

00:25:00               Now I tell you I can go.<inaudible> Youngest just started a new sort of preschool. And, and the teacher there is totally out for just kind of like, let’s see where this kid can go. And I was sitting in and transition day for a an hour or so with him. And there was this other child they’re just focused on making these patterns and counting.

00:25:27               And he had this thing in mind that you could see he was trying to work through it, but he kept clashing with the other kids. Cause he wanted those bits to finish. It was very important that he, he made this pattern and the, the teachers were a bit like, Oh, you’ve got to share. And, and we’re kind of seeing it as a bad behavior,

00:25:44               but I was like, Oh no, this is interesting. Yeah. What’s he up to game play for someone that age. Yeah. And I think the kids, they do find each other. A lot of Tristan’s friends have turned out to be gifted and different parents respond to that in different ways, you know? But yeah. A lot of the people that he’s connected with and remained connected with are gifted.

00:26:06               So he has found other kids who think like him and act like him. Yeah. And that’s the thing, isn’t it. We all want connection. We all, we’re a species who is all about community and connection. And it’s only natural that we gravitate towards people who think like us have our values and all of those things. So, and when you don’t have that,

00:26:29               it’s really isolated. Of course. And that’s what was happening to him at that school. I mean his, his mental health was suffering not to the extent. I think obviously Finn had been there a lot longer and had started reception the six months before it or something.<inaudible> toddlers, toddlers, and then preschool Kindi. And he had Started reception. Yeah.

00:26:53               Six months early, but just purely because of age, not because anyone had recognized developmental need, but just purely the fluke of age. So yeah, he was just that one step ahead of where you guys were. So yeah, you’d said to us or you, you know, Oh, you think your son is gifted and we, everything was hitting the proverbial fan for us.

00:27:14               And we were in a crisis mode. So we really had to, there was a lot happening and you guys were just kind of, I think a step behind us in terms of where you were going, but you had that assessment not long after we Yeah. Cause you had yours. And I’d seen the journey that, because I think having that rapport means not only do you,

00:27:35               it’s not about the label, cause I’m not about labels, but it’s about the information that, that report gives Rich information blew my mind. We got out of that and it helped me so much to understand my son. So some other behaviors that we saw that were causing problems. So I think one of the major reasons that we got really alarmed was the way that Tristan’s behavior was manifesting in a manner that the teachers were not able to cope with.

00:28:01               And it wasn’t bad behavior is not throwing things, but things like problem solving. So, and we worked out later and I’ll explain why he was doing this. Cause I didn’t know until the psych did the report and this is one of those reasons to have that report done. I think for me, anyway, there was an incident where my husband had dropped him off at school.

00:28:17               It was the day where we swap our library. Books, Tristin really loves rules. Like he will stick to the rules. He gets really upset, but he really doesn’t like it. If he doesn’t stick to the rules, he’s a very deep, not even a diplomat. I don’t know what the word is. Dictator possibly the military police watch out guy.

00:28:38               So he had not remembered his books. He left them in the car, but he’d said goodbye to daddy. Daddy had made eye contact with the teacher. Handover, officially has occurred. Right? We can now leave. And, and my husband had gone off to the car and had done the usual parents thing, like right. Or I’ll just deregulate from that moment of millions of small children.

00:28:57               I’ll just flick through Facebook for a minute and then turn the car around to drive back home. And this would have been like five minutes, something like that. And a woman flagged the car down. Luckily our car is fairly easily recognizable. It’s covered in stickers, flag the car down and went, is this your child? And Tristan had actually left the classroom cross the oval,

00:29:17               left the school site and was standing on the side of a busy main road in floods of tears, which is not where he should be. So Matt’s like, what are you doing mate? And he’s like, well from all my books, I come to get my books address and it basically decided he could solve the problem. He hadn’t got his books.

00:29:34               He knew where they were. So he just got up and left the classroom and the site didn’t have Gates that were locked. The teacher was obviously distracted by other kids. Apparently had assumed that he’d gone off with dad, which is interesting. Cause dad had waved and said goodbye, whatever the reason she didn’t know he’d even left. We brought him back and she just assumed that because he’d come back with dad.

00:29:55               He was with dad the whole time. She hadn’t realized he’d left the classroom. He was able to leave the school site stand next to a main road. And the school did not respond to that in a way that I needed them to. Instead of asking, you know, I wanted to know why the Gates were open. Why did the teacher not know he’d left?

00:30:12               No. What is the policy around duty of care? At what time does that kick in? I know the answers to all of that, but they weren’t able to answer those questions for me. They then labeled my son. A runner is how they call him. And they started putting measures in place to manage my son, not the situation. And that was when it became really hurtful to Tristin because in a Montessori school,

00:30:36               it’s all about independence and kids maintaining their own environment. Tristan was no longer allowed to leave the classroom to water the plants. He was not trusted to do those things. He was told that he needed to earn trust back and he actually hadn’t done anything wrong, really? That the problem, I mean, obviously he shouldn’t have left the site don’t get me wrong,

00:30:56               but there was a reason why he did that and they didn’t have the expertise to understand what was happening, dig deeper and to dig deeper. Yeah. And to understand that and to label a child or runner, without asking now that I run that business, edgy folios, I’ve taken trust into so many massive conferences in Sydney and in Melbourne. And I have absolutely no problem with him coming with me.

00:31:21               He does not run off. He’s like he backed, he turns into mini 40 year old businessman. He’s in his element. Cause he’s representing the brand. Don’t, you know, you know, like he is not a runner and that was really unfair and really hurtful because Tristan’s relationships with other people are really important to him. And he responds really well to people who take the time to connect with him.

00:31:44               He doesn’t really have any time for people who don’t do that. It’s really interesting. Like he has to build a relationship with someone before he’ll trust them. And that may be part of the experience he’d had at this site. I don’t know. He takes him a while to warm up and trust someone. But when we, when we eventually got the report,

00:32:00               cause it was, it was that. And then there was the fact that they did, you didn’t know, he could write that they wouldn’t give him a reading book that he was stuck on the same readers for ages that when he’d read the readers, there were no other books that he could go to the library, but not really only on this one day.

00:32:15               So he was stuck that book and then there would be no more books. And I was being told that he wasn’t focusing in class, that he was being not disruptive, but just distracted that and that the problem was his writing, which was really interesting because two years ago he was writing sentences. So I don’t know now, you know, like there was also things that were not just adding.

00:32:36               Yep. And so it, as I said at this, his teacher was an ex student of mine and I was trying desperately because I’ve had experiences as a teacher where I’ve taught one of my ex mentor’s sons and it was awful. She was awful. And I did not want to do that to this teacher. I wanted to be supportive and helpful and try and work out together.

00:32:54               Can we work out together? What’s going on? And it all came down to what we call pedagogies, which is how we choose to deliver the learning. So in an average classroom of that age, you might repeat something two or three times in lots of different ways so that the kid gets it. So they were doing, for example, parts of a flower and they’d gone outside and they’d looked at the parts of the flower and they’d name the parts of the flower at which point,

00:33:17               trusted now knows the parts of a flower. So then he comes back into the classroom and on the whiteboard, they’ve got a picture of a flower and they’re moving the words to the picture of the flower to name. And he’s like, all right, I’ve done it twice. Okay, cool. Now I’m going to sit down in groups and I want you to do the same thing again,

00:33:33               is that that’s the third time I’ve done this and now fourth, can you write it down in your book? And he’s like, I remember An article a few years back. It may have been around this time, which suggested that in the course of teaching, you might convey that information in different ways, like up to 20 or 30 times I for primary school teachers.

00:33:53               Yeah. Which makes sense because you, you know, you do it as many times as it takes to, to stick. But this is where, And this is where it was causing problems because he was refusing to write because in his head, this was just annoying. Like it did this 20 minutes ago, you’ve made me do it three times. Why do I need to write it down?

00:34:11               And so there were all these lots of head banging problems coming up between him and the staff. And it was clear that there was a piece of the puzzle missing. And I didn’t clearly know what it was. I had a hint that it might be giftedness. And so I just decided I needed the information and that they couldn’t provide that for me, they’re not qualified to provide that.

00:34:31               They didn’t know. None of us knew where at one of those impasses, we both had different versions of the story. So let’s get a third party to do an assessment and see what that tells us an expert. If you will, an expert and actual human. First of all, you got the assessment. Firstly, how did you feel? And secondly,

00:34:52               how did the school respond? Okay. Well I think for me the assessment, the label didn’t mean much to me, but that’s just who I am. I’m not, I’ve never really gone for labels. I think labels labels are limiting. In fact, I think, but I think what’s really important for me was understanding what that meant for him. And I think that’s different for everyone because reading fins is very different to reading trust and the way they,

00:35:17               so one of the things that have been really bothering me about Tristan as he’d been lying to me a lot, the way I saw it was he would lie to me. He would cover his tracks are no, no that hasn’t happened. Blah, blah, blah. And, and that was kind of what was going on with this, you know, leaving the school site.

00:35:30               But I can’t, I know, you know, he didn’t want to upset me. There were things like that. And that was hurting me because I didn’t know why he would lie to me. And the best bit about that process was having the psychologist explained to me the way he was seeing the world, like his map of the world is different to mine.

00:35:47               So he’s not lying. He is solving a problem. Like mom’s going to get upset. So rather than do that, if I just tell her this version of events, see if I get away with it, no one’s going to get upset. Life’s going to be easier. And so we then had to work on, you know, it’s okay if you haven’t done something,

00:36:05               right. Cause that’s the other thing he’s broken a rule or something’s not gone to plan, which is soul destroying. So the idea of admitting that to someone he really cares about was huge. Which to me, I wouldn’t have really understood what what’s no big, it would be nothing. It’d be nothing that at all, tiny little things you’re like who ate that lolly or you know,

00:36:23               little things that really are not life or death. He couldn’t cope with that. The reason that he left the school became really clear in terms of why he walked off. And it was because the test showed that Justin had something called cognitive dissonance, which means that he has a chronological age. And then he has a cognitive age, which is a couple of years ahead of his developmental age.

00:36:44               So although at that time he was five in his head, he was seven, eight years old and he thought he could solve the problem. Whereas a five-year-old wouldn’t normally do that. They’d just go, Oh, I need some help or, Oh, well, nevermind. This was really important to him. He thought he knew how to solve the problem.

00:37:00               It got the steps in his head, but when he got to the main road and dad, wasn’t where he expected him to be. He instantly turned back into a five-year-old because the plan hadn’t gone to plan and he didn’t have the emotional skills to deal with that emotion of disappointment. And Oh my God, I seem to be outside. You know? And without having had that psych report,

00:37:20               we wouldn’t have known about that cognitive dissonance. So we wouldn’t have understood that was what was happening. And it’s not the teacher’s fault either. They’re not trained in that. So they wouldn’t have known that. I wouldn’t know that as a teacher, I didn’t know about cognitive dissonance at that point, I knew about gifted ed, but not in that much detail.

00:37:37               So things like that, getting to understand why he does that, because that’s really important. That explains why, you know, he’s a, five-year-old with a 40 year olds mind. Yeah. That’s a bit, you know what I mean? Like that’s the old soul, but yeah. It’s always been a couple of years, cognitively ahead, of where he’s been developmentally,

00:37:54               which must’ve been super frustrating as a baby because he would have had all this stuff and he wouldn’t have been able to communicate it. No wonder he didn’t sleep. And he screamed all the time and wouldn’t leave my side. So for me, I felt enabled, I think is the word I would use by the, by the diagnosis. If you want to know what you call it,

00:38:10               the label, whatever you want to call It, it’s almost like knowledge really is power. Yeah. You know, what’s going on, Paul? It’s like, Okay, this makes sense. Get it so much makes sense. There’s so much rich information in there and understanding. And at that point, I mean, we didn’t have our third at that point.

00:38:27               And our second we’re still quite young, but I’m like, we’re doing this for our children because I just like, I don’t care where they’re, I just want this insight until they brain. Yeah. It’s just amazing, fascinating. And so enlightening and empowering. It really helps doesn’t it. And if we needed it, we needed it at that point because I’d exhausted my,

00:38:48               that sunshine and lollipops mentoring styles. I had exhausted my come on. Did the school respond well? You know, I was kind of hoping they would respond as I did. Oh, thank goodness. This solves some problems. Now it’s interesting. This is really interesting. Let’s put X, Y and Zed measures in place. Unfortunately, that isn’t how that school responded,

00:39:07               which was a real shame because I think there’s a real growth opportunity for that site there that they just keep dismissing. And I know there’s lots of children. I know Finn was in the same boat. There’s a fair few children who left that site for the same reason. And I think parents of gifted kids will be attracted to Montessori for those reasons. I said at the beginning and Look,

00:39:24               I think be low, find a great Montessori, like awesome. Cause I think the building blocks are all there for it. Absolutely. But it it’s that interpretation of the philosophy. Isn’t it. It’s just finding that. Right. Try to have a conversation with the person who founded the school because Montessori philosophy is very built on developmental stages. It’s not built on academic or cognitive function.

00:39:46               So you have to move from one house to the next based on your developmental stages. And I tried to have a conversation with them. Well, what happens if, you know, developmentally you’re here, but cognitively you’re over there and that just wouldn’t compute it just, yeah, but that doesn’t mean that all Montessori, I mean the previous Montessori was that was just like,

00:40:05               cool. Let’s just see where we can go because the way their facility was set up meant that they could do that. They could just let him go and just see where he went and just follow him and support him on that journey. And I think this other site had it set up very differently that they couldn’t do that. They didn’t have the room to do that.

00:40:20               And I think they had educators there, particularly in the early years who were very set in their ways, who always did it this way. They followed this path with these tools, with these resources. And that was that. It didn’t matter really. That’s what we did. I mean, I can remember Tristin wasn’t allowed to book because she’d asked him what rhyme was and he couldn’t tell her.

00:40:40               So rather than just telling him and teaching him what Ryan was, that was the reason he wasn’t allowed to book to read. And I was like, that’s ridiculous. Just in rhyme. Is this tell her what Romans, this is. Give her an example. Okay, there you go. Is that your problem solved? It was really weird. They didn’t respond the way they should have.

00:40:56               I think genuinely, they just weren’t equipped to deal with it. I think they probably know that they need to be, but they got very armored and defensive about it. And I wasn’t trying, I was desperately trying not to be that parents always very gentle. I thought with it, I was trying to be very supportive. I did my usual thing of,

00:41:17               I did what I would call a, a book review. I’d got out all his portfolios and I laid them side by side and I made a spreadsheet because I’m a teacher and I analyzed the data to see what his progress was because I wasn’t getting that feedback. I could show them that he was doing the same things and they’re like, he’s not doing the same thing.

00:41:33               So I can tell you now I’m like, well, where’s the evidence. So It doesn’t look that way. What, they weren’t able to communicate with me about his progress. They weren’t able to hear what I was saying. And they dismissed the psychologist’s report. You know, they, they didn’t feel like they had a responsibility to understand the content of that.

00:41:53               It was almost like they didn’t have the resources to do that. Or there’s only so much resource for that. But I actually feel as an educator myself, that’s I would love it if every child had that rope. Oh my God, it’d be so much easier. Yeah. Because I would understand so much more about how their brain works. There were some really key pieces of information there and the principal at the time,

00:42:15               wasn’t helping. Cause you know, at one point I kind of really wanted him to leave the conversation because I would say, or, you know, I got out all this data and I said, Oh, this is Chris. And he would, Oh, you know, but he was doing that at eight months old, you know, making jokes like,

00:42:27               Oh yeah, you’re all. Cause he was doing that when he was, before he was walking, you know? And like, that’s not helpful. That’s actually, That’s really, Oh, what’s the word. It’s just, it’s almost making you out to be a liar. Isn’t it. It’s sort of tearing down Kristen and you what you’ve had to say.

00:42:44               And I’ve spoken to a lot of parents and regrettably, the theme is so common. It it’s this theme of the children not being able to learn and the way that they need to learn. And unfortunately just this rigidity within the system. And I don’t know, I’m making assumptions here, but is it a way, you know, the way that teachers are trained and a lot of teachers,

00:43:12               I’m not going to say all because there’s obviously great teachers out there who are responsive and getting this, but the ones that I’ve talked to with other parents, they’ve not been able to see outside of this rigidity, outside of this box for what these students need. It’s just, they end up being the naughty child or the child with behavior issues or you end up being that parent and,

00:43:35               and somehow labels. Yeah. You know, you, what you, what you’re trying to communicate in the issues around your child, just get diminished because you’ve been labeled, you know, as troublemakers, you have the parent and the child. And it’s really, I mean, it’s, it’s obviously incredibly sad and, and a real deficit. And I,

00:43:56               and I find it fascinating because I kind of went into this with the expectation that will you guys see a lot of kids of this age, like for years and years you would have seen, I dunno, hundreds of kids at this age. And I, my expectation as a parent, not an educator and with very little experience of any kids was that,

00:44:19               Whoa, surely they would know what to look for. They would know the kids that don’t fit in the box and be able to recognize certain things that I wouldn’t have recognized, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I just wonder, I think we trust him. He just, by the time he got to reception, he’d already learnt not to be himself at school.

00:44:39               Yeah. He was hiding. So he wasn’t, he still does it now a little bit at Darra. Like I’ll never forget the first term I looked at his books and one of the SSOs had done all the writing and they were like, Oh yeah, Justin says he needs some help. I was like, aha. So I took in some of his writing,

00:44:52               they’d done at home and they’re like, ah, exhibit a Hunter knows how to play the system. Right. It’s how to get out of doing stuff he doesn’t really want to do because he’s learned that he learned that from the education system. Like if I don’t want to write, then I can do this and someone will help me to do it. So it’s,

00:45:15               I wonder partly whether it’s about, there comes a point where, and I think it’s really hard because I know those tests as gifted ed tests are not meant to be done when they’re really little. But I think by the time we’re doing them, we’ve already done so much damage that the way they think of school. Yeah. And that they’ve learnt not to learn almost.

00:45:34               And then there’s, this is not at school trauma. You know, so many parents I’ve spoken to, there’s already trauma and their kids are only like four or five or six and they’re damaged from this process. And of course, you know, an assessment is just this snapshot in time. It’s not the be all and end all, it just gives you a bit of information in a window,

00:45:54               into the brain on that particular day or that particular moment. I mean, you can’t hold it up to be everything, but it certainly is an incredibly valuable tool to use. And so thank you very much for coming along and sharing your story or the motherhood story. And I like to finish with one of your favorite aha moments or just one of those moments where your child has just done something like,

00:46:23               and you’ve kind of gone, Oh my God, what the, you know, just one of those classic gifted moments, does anything come to mind? There have been so many ridiculous call and ridiculous moments. Yeah. I think, I guess even just walking in and finding that sentence on the white board, but not trying to have to check that Matt didn’t write it.

00:46:41               My husband, what did you do? You know that little thing at that point, he would’ve been about three and he’s written like, it’s impressive. So I’m like, okay. They nap. That was that. I mean, and also just the, the way he likes to explain everything to everyone, I would like to call it a gifted explaining.

00:47:00               Cause you couldn’t possibly understand. So he needs to tell you, but he’s being helpful and he’s trying to help you. You know? I think Justin is just, he’s just him. It’s really funny. I don’t think there is one huge moment. Aha. He’s just always been deceased. Lots of little moments, little moments, lots of like, okay,

00:47:18               that’s just who you are. It doesn’t really stand out. Like he doesn’t. Yeah. I don’t know. And you think of what I’m just trying to think. Oh, you know, what I love about tea is Because, you know, tea thrown into the mix of my three and he he’s still about the rules. If you say this old structure,

00:47:37               it’s not just enough for him to follow that rule, which he will do religiously, but he also will try and enforce that rule in others. Yes. And so my youngest two is three, two will be like, so, you know, we can’t go there. No, you can’t do that. And I tried to explain that it’s going to be challenged,

00:47:52               you know, even for a gifted three-year-old you, you kind of good luck T and it’s just that commitment to the rules, which I love about him. Yeah, definitely. Oh yes. And I love, I love it when your own words come out of their mouth. Oh my God. That can also be scary. Yeah. Yeah. Well,

00:48:09               thank you so much for your time today. It’s been a delight to have this chat and I look forward to get you back and talking about other stuff, which I’m sure we will. And I’m happy to talk very much. Thank you. You enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way. I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments for more episodes,

00:48:27               you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast. Please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources@ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. See you in the same place next week.

#005 Starting Over – Tennille’s Story.

#005 Starting Over – Tennille’s Story.

Starting Over.

Tennille’s brave decision to move her son interstate to find friends.

Today I’m speaking with Tennille about discovering her son is gifted and moving interstate to find like-minded friends and a school that worked for him.

In the episode you’ll hear:

  • Tennille’s journey of figuring out her son was gifted.
  • The challenge of figuring out your first/only child is gifted.
  • Her decision to move interstate to find the right school.
  • The challenges of finding friends and peers for gifted kids.
  • A gifted child who actually sleeps! They do exist!
  • The challenges of getting emotional and social needs met.

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“I always thought he was pretty special, he just got things very quickly, but I didn’t think it was any different, certainly not outstanding in any way.” – Tennille

“I started thinking about it [gifted] on his second birthday when he picked up a board book but just sat on my nan’s lap and read the board book to her.” – Tennille

“He couldn’t handle more than five minutes with one kid and he was regulating his own social [situation] so there was never any complaints, he was managing it,  but he wasn’t getting what he needed and we just hadn’t seen the affects yet. And that’s when I knew this is going to be a social, emotional, problem.” – Tennille

“He said to me “these guys get me” and I’m like, what, I didn’t even noticed that he had known the difference but he saw some of these other Dara kids saying stuff and he understood them and they were saying stuff that he felt that I didn’t know he felt.” – Tennille

“I had my car shipped across, and we each had two suitcases, and that was all we brought with us. We started fresh and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, it was massive. We have no family here, we’d never visited the school.” – Tennille


Subscribe & Review

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments.

For more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast please leave a review.

You can find show notes and more resources at www.ourgiftedkids.com

See you in the same place next week.


Connect with me on LinkedIn Instagram & Facebook!



 00:00:00               Today, I’m talking to, to Neil about discovering that her son is gifted and then moving into state to find the best school for him. Hi, I’m Sophia Elliot as a parent of three gifted kids. I’m here to talk about all things gifted because I’ve been isolated and uncertain. And I felt like that parent, then I found peace of mind support and my community.

00:00:27               This podcast is about sharing that journey, actually parenting gifted kids and connecting with advice and support. So we have everything we need for every member of our family to thrive. This is the, our gifted kid podcast. Hi Neil. Thanks so much for coming in and talk to us today. Very welcome. Safier I’m glad to be here. Excellent. So it’s lovely to take this time to talk about your journey with your son.

00:00:55               Your son is gifted. Yes. And you know, with hindsight looking back, were there little things in those early years that just kind of made you think that you might be gifted? Or how did it all come about from pretty early on? I was, I always thought he was pretty special. He just got things very quickly. Yeah. But I didn’t think it was anything very different,

00:01:26               certainly not outstanding in any way or anything like that. But I thought he was going to be pretty clearly. So he was, Barry is one of those kids where, when he finally gets something, you can actually see the light bulb go on. So little things like his playing with the DVD covers when I think he was three months old, just pushing them around or something.

00:01:53               Now I must have been a bit older five or six months. And he figured out that the picture on the front of the place called DVD was the same. It actually related to what he’d seen on the TV. And the first time he’d figured that out and you saw this light bulb go off. So he’s just one of those kids you just saw when he learned something.

00:02:16               And it was an instantaneous thing. So I was spotted lots of these little things over time. He was very talkative little kid. Yeah. So did he talk early? No, he wasn’t. He didn’t talk particularly early. Think he was about nine months. I don’t. Yeah. Some might say that’s a tad. This is what happens when you have a first child.

00:02:45               Yes. Or in my case, only child that’s gifted. You don’t have, and you haven’t had a lot of exposure to other kids. Absolutely. I was the same. I, and I had no nieces or nephews, cousins. Like I just, I didn’t think I’d held a baby, you know, and I saw it. It was clueless.

00:03:05               And similarly I thought, you know, yeah, he’s pretty sharp. And, and we had just no expectation Of, you know, what that Actually was when we figured that out. So yeah. Blows you away a bit. I think I I’ve found Angus Very, very teachable from very early on. I suppose that was, that was the big thing that seemed different.

00:03:31               Was he understood more, even though he couldn’t say it, I’d just give him instructions and he’d just do it. Yeah. He only I could teach him no, don’t come in the kitchen and it was almost an instantaneous thing. And then he’d play on it and try and wait till you’re watching and then pretend to do it, to see your reaction,

00:03:52               talking with the big cheeky grin on his face, just testing those boundaries. And did he just picked up on things really quickly. And he was just very open as far as instruction went, which my, my life an awful amount easier. But when he was eight months old, I put my back out. I wasn’t allowed to pick him up. So yeah,

00:04:16               that must have been hard. I’d have to, okay. Angus it’s time for your bottle. Come over to the couch and he’d just crawl over just a couch total over hade Toby. When he needed his nappy changed, she’d just Crow it, cruise over to the change table and read all the change table. And he was one of those kids who,

Continue Reading Transcript Here...

00:04:36               when it was bedtime and behold, if you do not put him to bed immediately, he would be at the car, shaking the car, put me to bed. Oh my God. I thought those children were a myth. No, no. I had one. I have no personal experience of knowing my friend, friends, Very jealous. Cause he he’d sleep 11 hours a night.

00:05:00               You just you’re just teasing me. And then three, two hour Napster. That’s just rude. It’s just, it is horrible. That’s interesting because one of those characteristics they talk about gifted kids is they can be very, what’s the word I’m looking for. They don’t have much sleep that. So, you know, and I love that. Just reinforces it.

00:05:23               They’re all different. They are all different. Right. And for me, I, because Angus was such a good sleeper when I finally met other gifted Families, it didn’t say expected them To say, yeah, my kid was a good sleeper. I mean, we all know Anyone else who said that. No, that does not surprise to me. It made sense because you use sleep to reinforce your memory as children.

00:05:51               I’m going to tell my kids that. Yeah. I just, I just read it. I saw a documentary on it just recently Netflix from babies and how those naps, they need more naps to reinforce what they’ve learned in between. Yeah. Wow. And so to me it always just made sense and I was just like, Whoa, he slept a lot.

00:06:13               And he learned very quickly and I just thought the two went together since then. I’m like, well, no, that’s not necessarily the case. No, everyone is jealous. My first wasn’t too bad. But then you don’t know because it’s your first that there could be worse until you have your second. And yeah, my second would 30 minute nap,

00:06:38               couple of times a day. And that was, it just would not nap and was a nightmare for sleep right up until she was almost three and something just flicked. And now it’s the opposite. My, my oldest really struggles to, to wind down at night, but my younger, but the middle child she’s just made up for it. She just goes to bed and I’m like,

00:07:07               Oh, bless your child making up for it now. Nice. Yeah. When he, when he was little, there was, yeah. So there were little things I’m going to say the child health nurse when he was 18 months. Yeah. Did other people pick up on that as well? No. The child health. No, certainly do them.

00:07:25               Yeah. I was really surprised when they gave you the sheet and said, that was your job, 10 words, 20 words or two 50 words. And I was like, Oh, it’s definitely got more than 50, but I hadn’t counted. And child health nurse rolled her eyes. Yeah, sure, sure, sure, sure. Or, and I actually listed the map in one of Angus’s crayons to do,

00:07:55               and it was well over a hundred before I stopped counting and, and I’m like, okay, so that’s in Tucson. Yeah. On the highest height. Yeah. But it still didn’t click. Yeah. So at what point did it click? When did it all kind of come to get started Talking about it on his second birthday when he just picked up a board book,

00:08:16               sat on my Nan’s lap and read the board book to my Nana, my pot. Wow. Simple single words. Nothing flashy, nothing flashy, but he’s seen over and over, but he was too. And he was reading it and we’re looking at it online. Is he remembering it? Is he just, is, he is parroting. Yes. There are pictures there it’s quite clear.

00:08:40               Nothing too drastic. So I had three days later, we were walking down the street. We lived opposite a small country school and all the cars were parked out the front. We walked past and he counted 17 cars. Oh 17 at two. Yeah. Okay. And I was like, no, that’s wrong. That’s wrong. That’s definitely a stain.

00:09:05               And he’s like, no, there’s 17. And so I counted it for him and noticed that he, from his perspective, he could see one part behind it. Now you couldn’t see that. I couldn’t see. And I’m like, Oh yes, you’ve got that. And then he just started going 1920 and then he just stopped 20. And I’m like,

00:09:30               yeah. 20 thinking that’s good enough. And he’s like, no. And he just looks at me and goes 11. Oh. Is figuring it’s that I know where it’s supposed to go. I don’t know what it’s called. Like you’ve kind of gotten the pattern. Yeah. But Anna’s like, Oh, okay. So it goes 21 and then 22.

00:09:50               And then he went up to 29th, straight away 11, But I know what the next one. I remember my old school teacher who had become the principal of this small country school was sitting out front and she was actually sitting on the steps of the entrance to the school because she knew we would do to come back from playgroup or something. And she goes,

00:10:17               I’d heard about this little boy, this stage he’s about two and a half. Yeah. Not quite three. And, and so she has a chat with him and there’s certainly other about Mike the night. Oh yes. Yep. And at one point she goes, he was really looking for the right word to use then I’m like, yeah. That’s course.

00:10:38               Yeah. I ha and she takes him inside and she starts giving him these little tests. Oh yeah. New lineup please. Yeah. And counting the animals in the fish tank. And then you’ve got all these receptionists and other teachers coming out or Hey, check this kid out. And he said, he’s counting how many fish? Ah, yeah. I remember one of the polling of our teachers.

00:11:02               And he was like, Oh yeah, well, it’s not really doing it type thing. And I remember that teacher first time he was in their class and he was doing a little reading test. He was so I’ll start before or in a few months. And he was doing this ABC reading eggs test on thing. And the word castle came up now,

00:11:25               Angus red castle. And this same teacher went just George dropped. Yeah. And cause I was in the classroom as a parent teacher helper. And he’s like, he actually read that, but there’s no other indicator he read word. And I’m like, Yeah, yeah. All that sort of stuff. But the big, big clue was when we went to the doctor and Angus who has had renal issues.

00:11:52               And he was in out of hospital quite a bit when he was younger, started telling the doctor what everything did, this is the blood pressure cough. And this is how you use it. And this is a thermometer and this is this, and this is for taking your temperature. And if you get too hot, then you’re sick. Yeah. In three-year-old language.

00:12:13               Yeah. Yeah. It was three at the time. It was, is actually a three-year-old checkup. Yeah. He’d just gotten these immunizations and he’d just had a lovely discussion if the nurse outside, when he’d gotten his immunizations about the difference between live and dead vaccines. Oh, okay, great. I should do. Yeah. Because it’s very nice to seeing the chicken pox.

00:12:33               Yeah. Yeah. You want to know all about it. And so we went in with the darken and they’re chatting away and all this sort of stuff and he gives him his usual development tests and that sort of thing. And as we’re leaving, the doctor goes, Oh, he’s, he’s pretty forward. And I’m like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,

00:12:53               yeah, yeah. I know. And I went to turn the knob to the door as I was leaving and he stopped me and he actually said, no, he is very forward and you’ll need to consider getting him tested. Oh wow. That, that was, that was the moment it’s like, no, no, no, no. And it’s a hard thing,

00:13:17               isn’t it? Because when it’s your first or when you’ve not got the experience of kids, you just don’t know what you don’t know. You’ve got no comparisons. Yeah. You don’t really imagine that your kid is like, you know, it’s like, yeah, they’re pretty sharp, but that’s just normal. That’s just, that’s just nowadays. Yeah. And I remember one terrible time Angus was at a play group.

00:13:43               He was talking about the different animals on the table and that sort of thing. And this other cake came in and he hadn’t started speaking yet. And then around two and a half, I’m not sure. And Hey, he wasn’t verbalizing and Angus was verbose. Yes. And, and I remember talking with this mom and she started getting really worried had she was the first time mum as well.

00:14:10               So she hadn’t had a lot of yep. Exposure with her child to other children remembering very small country town living out on. Yeah, absolutely. She’s probably freaking out. This is kind of first foray to that. Yeah. And so straight off the bat, she freaks. Yeah. She’s like really worried that I’m wrong with her kid and I was being ever so consent encouraging.

00:14:38               Yeah. Trying to be encouraging, trying to be helpful and not trying to compare kids or anything. Yeah. But I did turn to her and I go, well, if you’re really worried, maybe you should get him checked out. Yeah. Well not Realizing my checked out. I’m not always, I just remember that. And from that moment, yeah.

00:15:02               Well, once I realized that Angus was so far ahead that comparing kids is just not the way to go. No, you get yourself into real trouble. And I think that’s the tricky thing about the gifted label is I don’t know, there’s something about that term gifted that I feel just implies comparison in, in a way that prevents us from really seeing these kids as individuals and just as they are and,

00:15:36               and both their strengths and weaknesses and the challenges and, and yeah, it’s a hard conversation. And I, and a lot of parents, I talk to just feel that taboo, Oh my kid’s gifted, but God wouldn’t tell anyone, you know, like, because it just feels implied even though it’s really hard and it’s not what people imagine. I was lucky.

00:16:02               I was lucky being in such a small country, town and Angus growing up and teachers around were already familiar with him and we’re expecting certain things of him and just the way he was with shop owners and that sort of thing. And everybody knew him and everybody commented that how clever he was and that sort of thing. And so it was kind of just a given.

00:16:29               So when I actually, and then I did get him tested and initially I only told a couple of really, really close friends that he, he had gone through the testing and, and then it was okay now I got to talk to the school. Yeah. And I remember the kindie teacher who I spoke to and I brought in a stack of stuff that I hadn’t shown her,

00:16:55               that he had been doing at home after I’d gotten this report. And I given to report, which had freaked her out. And then I showed her what he was doing at home. And I was trying to figure out just where he was supposed to be and Shay all of a sudden, and I’ll never forget. She’s just like, I am so relieved.

00:17:21               And I’m like, Oh, That wasn’t, that wasn’t the response. I was expecting. A lot of parents get pushback if they stop kids from dentures and that sort of thing, I think because she’d seen him since he was two. Yeah. She was his daycare worker a little bit differently. And, and she was also our, now I love small towns.

00:17:45               That’s beautiful. It sounds great. But she was like, I have no idea what to do with him. Oh. But thankfully Be asleep. Thankfully someone does. And I know her honesty if I’m missing something. Yeah. She’s looking at this stack of stuff he’s doing at home and she’s like, okay. So at least he’s getting it. He’s going to get it somewhere.

00:18:08               Yeah. He’s going to be okay. And thank goodness, you’re not expecting me to do everything because I don’t have a clue. Yeah. So that was really good. Yeah. You do get a lot of information from that. And I remember one teacher having gotten this report and going, I just don’t have time to, And there was, there was a lot of information in that,

00:18:33               but yeah, so the school was, and the kindie where Angus was at the time was really responsive. And so that’s quite actually really positive. I know that you moved from, was Western Australia to South Australia to attend Dara, which is the Australia is currently only school for gifted children. And so What prompted that move? Where did you end up?

00:18:58               Because that’s a big move. It is, it is this school that we were in. They were very responsive, which is all, he went from kindergarten at three and a half to ye pre-primary at five to grade one at five and a half for full year of grade one before I left now he was actually doing well. Yeah. And we really had no complaints.

00:19:24               My issue was how things were going to progress in the future. One of the big things was looking for some a like-mind just one. Yeah. So someone, so did he have friends that he could, he had friends, He had friends that he had basically grown up with the same three kids in the daycare that he had. He had been with every day,

00:19:48               for years. So he had friends and he was well-liked. Yeah. That was to my mind a non-issue yeah. The biggest thing I found was seeing the differences cropping up. Yeah. He really wanted to be friends with this particular eight year old boy and he was four. Right. Okay. And this boy was super kind. He was just lovely and inclusive and invite him around to play and stuff.

00:20:16               And I was good friends with his mom, but Angus really wanted a closer relationship. And this eight year old boys, like, you’re really sweet, but not Thank you like for like four. So that was, that was never not going to happen. And the ones he’d grown up with, he was fine with outside. Yeah. So basically, yeah.

00:20:43               Hey, it wasn’t an issue. He was on path and everybody was around the same. I mean, these kids were kids would do my mountain biking competitions through the forest. They would they’re country kids in trees. They they’re out there. They’re very physical. And so he had a ball with them. Problem was when you got them inside and on a rainy day and you noticed,

00:21:13               but they only want to watch baby shows or they only want to bored or they don’t know how to play, guess who properly. And then the anger you’re cheating. It doesn’t understand the rules yet. You need to give him some time to learn or play something else. And it was like, I don’t want to play baby games. Oh, well how about you watch something on TV,

00:21:36               fine. Put on a DVD. He chose a documentary on swamp tigers and should do. And so one of these little boys sits in front of things and he’s mesmerized and he’s watching this documentary, which is great, except Angus doesn’t want to watch the documentary. He wants to discuss the documentary and this and that. And what do you think of this?

00:22:03               And this kid’s just glued to the TV. First time he’s watched it took French in that. Whereas I guess is what she’s 15 times. Yeah. So, but he wasn’t getting that feedback that he was yeah. Desiring. And I get that. My eldest very sociable. He had lots of friends. He was the type of kid who he’d known someone for two minutes and he’d be like,

00:22:27               Oh, I love you to come over and play, you know, telling people our address. It’s like, Oh, direction stuff to your front door, to the lady at the hospital. Absolutely. And, but, but I, and you know, I’d never actually thought about it before, but it was the same when he was outside playing rough and tumble,

00:22:49               it was fine. But when he tried to Connect about something that was, he was really thinking about, you could see that he just would, he just would bounce off people. Then he’d try someone else need bounce off. It was really sad to watch. But at that same time, him and a few other boys in the class had this real rough and tumble gain that used to play in the sand pit.

00:23:13               And as parents, you know, they’d be playing up to school and we’d be watching them going, Oh, like, they’re all right. They’re not hurting each other or anything, but it’s like, something’s going on? They weren’t going through something. But as long as they were playing, it was okay. Yeah. It was just that connection. Isn’t it,

00:23:31               it’s really hard. It’s just, they, a lot of the times I find people think that they’re gifted kids in particular, especially when you look at stereotypes in think Sheldon that’s right. It’s yeah. And they’re not, they don’t have that social capacity. Yeah. What I’ve actually found, at least in my experience is that they’re actually emotionally, socially,

00:24:03               probably not emotionally, but socially advanced. And at four years old, they’re looking for these connections that they shouldn’t be looking for till they’re. Right. Exactly. And they can’t find anyone to reciprocate. And without that reciprocation, then they’ve got four years, another four years or half of their life. Yeah. Not getting what they need. So it’s not surprising that by then they’re socially stunted.

00:24:32               They haven’t had that four years of that’s. It’s a really interesting, yeah. That’s my personal opinion. Yeah. That’s interesting. But, and I could, I was worried about that happening with Angus. I didn’t want him to turn into a Sheldon. I wanted him to be very well-rounded and that was my goal. I wasn’t looking for someone who was going to be the next rocket scientist or Nobel prize winner.

00:25:00               When I found out he was gifted, it was more, I’m worried about his emotional wellbeing. Yeah. And how, how is this going to affect him? So when he was, we were at this tiny little school and we joined mincer and I went on the website and I’m trying to find out who he can connect with. And this is Mensa group in Perth,

00:25:21               which is great. We were five hours from Perth. Oh, wow. That’s okay. We can try during school holidays, maybe when you’re a bit older and you can join in the programs. Yeah. That would be great. But I’m just looking for one person outside of that area. The closest one we found was three hour drive away. Wow.

00:25:40               Yeah. That’s hard to found a couple of other medicines in area two or three towns away, but they were adults. Yeah. Not children. So that was my big thing. He’s never going to find someone, one person is all I was after that he can connect with. And not long after I had joined Mensa, I actually got an email from Alan Thompson,

00:26:07               welcoming me and so forth. And sending me, I little video that some of the teachers at Dara had produced to the conference. Oh, I can show it at a conference. And he suggested that after having looked at Angus’s report, he suggested I considered R yeah. And so I had a look at it and I’m like, no way I can do this,

00:26:36               but it’s really interesting. And I went onto the dire website and found out the applications were closing in two days. So I went, well, let’s just do it. Nothing’s going to come of it. Nothing’s going to come up. So why did you think nothing would come with it? The application process. Okay. You just didn’t think you’d get through that or not smart Things you expect.

00:27:00               I mean, Particularly with older kids, school reports, Nat plan. Sure. Results and all that sort of stuff. We haven’t gotten there yet. So, and I knew Angus was going to be youngest of the kids type thing and all that sort of stuff. So I didn’t expect it, but I thought, you know what? Let’s just give it a,

00:27:18               go see what comes of it. Yeah. Two weeks later I was asked for an interview and then straight away I was, he was offered a place. Yeah. And I had two weeks to get the bone together, pay it and decide whether we were going, yeah, sorry. This all happened over a four week period Christmas that I had no idea how I was going to do this.

00:27:43               And I’m a single mum. Yeah. In this tiny little country town, five hours outside of hours outside of Paris, You don’t get more remote. So that’s not 500 kilometers away from where the nearest capital<inaudible> The serious, low socioeconomic area. I, I did have a part time job, but really like high and all the rest. And so it was basically,

00:28:08               we did a big garage sale and just said, everybody buy whatever you can. Yeah. Whatever you need. And everything’s going into flight to get us over there. And we started fresh when we came, I had my car shipped across. Yeah. And I, we H had two suitcases. Wow. And that was all we bought with us and we started fresh and it was the scariest thing I have ever done.

00:28:33               That’s huge. It was, it was massive. And we have no family here. We’d never visited the school. Yeah. I swear if I had seen this, Well, I wouldn’t have kept no Dara Having to start as it has in amongst it. A bigger public school. Yes. Yes. It’s it’s small. It’s small. Yeah. So for context,

00:28:56               Dara is, or was when Angus has started about 30 students in basically two rooms on the site of another primary school and then not glamorous rooms. It’s not, it’s not a new primary school. So when you, and I know what you mean. Cause when we went there for the interview, you’ve kind of got the meeting table in the admin. It’s just one room,

00:29:24               there’s a room for students and teaching and there’s a room for admin and that’s the school and Yeah. And it’s, and you definitely go there for the teaching. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, and it’s, I have to say though, delightful that next term, the school is moving into its forever home. We are sorting through it and it’s just this awesome,

00:29:48               like 19, early 1900 dimension. I just can’t see it. I can’t teach building. It’s going to be, it’s so amazing. I know. I can’t wait. It’s all this space and it’s just so awesome. So yeah. But, but nonetheless at the time it’s pretty underwhelming in terms of the looks, it wasn’t, this isn’t some fancy smancy private school with all the facilities,

00:30:13               but because it would have only been in its second year, was it? Yeah. Anger. Anger came in at the start of the second year and We accepted The position and I had then had to grow and tell yes, as teachers, it was in the middle of school holidays, we already finished. And there was changes being made at the school.

00:30:36               Principal had gone on long service life. There were other tapes, a new principal was coming in. They were mixing things up and teachers were making crosses and it was all for the teachers. It was a very uncertain time. And Angus was very well liked. And he, I had one teacher who had been the primary school teacher and she said, I missed out on having him.

00:30:59               She had been on long service leave pre-primary in that. And she’s like, and army out. And not only that, but she was one of the members of our church as well. And so we spent a lot of time with her. She taught Sunday school In there and all the rest Of it. So then I went to Leap of faith for you.

00:31:21               Wasn’t here. But I, I went to her and I said, look, we’ve decided we’re going elsewhere. And you could just see her face drop. Like she was going to cry. And I said, it’s not the school was in part of the school, given that it was such a small school and that we’re going to have a lot of resources and that sort of thing.

00:31:40               Certainly not. Yeah, no, it sounds like you have teachers, But I just it’s too good. An opportunity and that sort of thing. But I had shown Angus, this video that Alan had sent me and Angus, his face had changed. He watched it and he spiced lit up and he says to me, get me. And I’m like,

00:32:06               what? You act? I didn’t even notice no. That he had noticed a difference. Yeah. But he saw some of these other direct kids saying stuff and he understood them. And they were saying stuff that he felt that I didn’t know, he felt. And I’m like, Oh, okay. And I was telling his teacher this and she had said to me,

00:32:31               and so I had said, it’s not, not the teaching. And we’re really happy and we’re leaving our family. So this is a huge, it’s not, it’s not exactly something we want to do, but we feel we can’t pass up the opportunity. And I asked her, but how has he socially? Because I haven’t had any complaints. She’s like,

00:32:50               not everybody loves him. He gets along with everybody. And she goes into, describe her at lunchtime. She sees him with the kindies and then I, and then she sees him with the pre prom, primary kids. And then she’s playing, he’s playing with this grade one, it and all the way up to grade five. And I think, and that’s when the penny dropped for me.

00:33:08               Yeah. And that’s when it sensed that yes, we are definitely going, there’s no taking this back because speaking with her through it and going through it, we both realized that every lunchtime he’s playing with a kindie kid and getting bored, playing with the pre-primary kid, getting bored, playing with a grade one kid and getting bored right up until he gets to the grade five girls.

00:33:29               I think he’s so sweet because he is, But he couldn’t handle more than five minutes with one kid. And he was actually regulating his own social things. So there was never any compliance. No, but he was getting it, but he wasn’t getting what he needed. And we just hadn’t seen the effects here. And that’s when I knew this is going to be a social,

00:33:53               emotional problem. Yeah. This is not what I want. Yeah. We are definitely going. Yeah. And that was when, and coming to Dara and him seeing these other kids and they do get him, They do speak the same language. Don’t they? It’s beautiful. Ah, and I just, and I don’t always like the same stuff. No,

00:34:12               not all spice nuts. I don’t know. Yeah. My son. Yep. Hey human body. That’s him. Okay. That’s him. And it’s funny now because my son will be like, Oh yeah, we’ll be talking about something. He’ll be like, Hm. I’m not sure. We’ll have to ask such and such. That’s his area of expertise.

00:34:32               No, I’m not allowed to, my answers are never, ever accepted. His mom’s answers are never accepted. Not good enough. No, no. So yeah. So you got to Dara, he, he started day one. And so How, How instant was that kind of okay. We’ve done the right thing. When did that come for you?

00:34:54               The first week was deriding. Absolutely draining drain it. Yeah. That was, I have never seen him so tired. Yeah. Emotions. We didn’t even have house yet. Yeah. I mean, you guys were in the thick of it. Yeah. We, Our housing that we had planned on had fallen through. So we weren’t meeting from, we had housing OSI moving us from a hotel to caravan park to this and we’re catching buses for the first week.

00:35:25               Yeah. Until the cargo came over, came over on it. It was a mess. Yeah. But so yes, he was, he was utterly exhausted when we finally got our unit finally had a home and settled in, it was about a week after that. Yeah. And he’s lying in bed and he looks up at me and he says to me,

00:35:54               we made the right decision to come and that’s Yes, The right decision to come. And it hasn’t been easy. He is two years on. He is still struggling with not having his family around. His father is still in WWI, aunts and uncles that he’s really close to grandparents. He’s very close to. That is still really hard. So there’s that emotional thing that he’s dealing with.

00:36:27               And this has me wanting a completely emotionally well-rounded young boy and I’ve gone. Okay. So I bet the needs on one end, but the other ends really struggling. Yeah. I have to admit he is struggling on that end and we’re working through that. Yeah. But as far as being with other kids, being able to be challenged without being pushed.

00:36:51               Yes. Yeah. That was a big thing for me, because it’s so easy for me to try and push him, especially in math. I have a degree in math, so I would love to sit there and just push him in maths, just do math all day long, Which would not be his cup of tea. So even though you’ve still,

00:37:09               you’ve obviously he misses his family very much. You still think it was very much worth. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Even he will say that we made the right decision, but it is hard it’s time. Yeah. And you know what, we can’t protect them from everything in life, Kim North, you know, and let’s face it, a big move into state for whatever reason is something that a lot of kids have to deal with.

00:37:31               And it just is. Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. But now he seems to be going really well now and all settled in. He is he’s settled in his, he’s doing well in all aspects really is he’s having a grand old time for the most part. And it’s not just school. It’s sport. Yeah. It’s, he’s big into sport and he’s doing well there and he’s going to his violin lessons back,

00:37:59               which we quit when we left. So we’ve finally been able to give him those. So that’s, that’s been good. And yeah. So he’s, he’s settled. He’s doing well. He’s generally happy in that regard. CYA things have been, things have been great for us and it worked out really well for me too. So that was, that was fine.

00:38:21               I, I love being in Adelaide today. Oh, me too. We’d just, yeah. We didn’t never thought we would end up here, but we feel very lucky to be here. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat to no worries. It’s been A pleasure. I do Like to end though. And hopefully something comes to mind,

00:38:42               but just looking back and thinking about, if you can think of one of those moments Where Just one of those gifted moments where they just totally surprised you, or you would just watch them do something. And they’ll like, Oh my God, what have I got here? What comes to mind? The one that comes Mine was after we got here and I’m sitting with a group of Dara moms yeah.

00:39:13               From during the school holidays and the kids are off playing, having a bit of a play date and that that’s all great. And, and we’re just sitting there having afternoon tea and all lovely bit of a chat and a laugh. And all of a sudden I hear the piano playing and it’s a familiar tune because Angus used to play it on the violin.

00:39:33               He’d only had six months on the violin. And so he was playing that and we heard this playing and I asked the host, mum, your daughter, is it your daughter or your son that plays piano. And she stops and gives me an odd look. And then she lanes back and looks around lanes around the wall to look at the piano. And she goes,

00:39:54               Oh no, that’s Angus. And I’m just like, what? And she goes, that’s Angus playing. The other mom goes to me. So how long has he been playing piano? And I’m like, He doesn’t. He does. And, and the third mum love it laughed. And I’m like, he Does, he did six months a piano and he Yeah,

00:40:20               six months of violin. And he did that Piece, but he’s never played piano. And he had transferred. Yeah. Worked it out onto the piano. Wow. Which he’d never played before. I mean, I’ve never played a violin, but they don’t say they don’t seem very similar. And I’m sitting here, They gobsmacked and these three mums just Burst out,

00:40:47               laughing The host hostesses. That’s just one of those weed things our kids do. And that was just the extent of it. And everybody else is just having a great laugh in their, like, This is so cool to watch somebody else have one of these, your drops. Oh, now I got to work out on the music as well. I had the intellectual,

00:41:16               I got the music is doing really, really well in gymnastics. I, sorry. I’ve been told his physically his gifted, advanced whatever. However, we’re going to put it and took him to the dentist. Right. Folk Christmas, dentist him for x-rays I think because his dental advanced, done. How can you be dental?<inaudible> I’m out. That’s the last of it.

00:41:49               I’m not listening any, that’s hilarious. Yeah. There’s a few, he’s one of a client. That’s for sure. I love it. I love it. Well, we’ll end on that note thing. Dentally advanced, beautiful quite of the day. Thank you so much for coming and sharing your story. I really appreciate your time. Love it. Enjoy this episode.

00:42:17               And it inspired you in some way. I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments for more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast. Please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources at ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. See you in the same place next week.