Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weeding and Planting at School

Bethelle is going to a new school this year.

Hmm.  I am stumped.  I don't know what to say.  My whole life I have been ahead of the curve academically.  I never wanted to talk about it.  I enjoyed being smart and doing well in school, but I never really wanted anyone to notice.  I didn't want to brag and I certainly didn't want for people to treat me like I was different; not even respectable and different.  As I was unwilling to lower my academic standards, many people of course did notice, and many people did treat me differently.  In this paragraph, I am definitely going against my own standard of not talking about it.

But this time, it's about my daughter.  How do I say it?  Do I say it?  This is my blog, and I write it for my kids and for their kids.  I don't write it to brag.  Being gifted, or "highly capable," as they seem to be calling it now, comes with a unique set of challenges that people who don't experience it may not take the time to understand.  I'm trying to say that this is not about bragging.  I am writing this to work through the set of challenges that Bethelle will now face so that we can help her through them.

Bethelle is going to a new school this year.  She tested into the highly capable program in our district, which is housed at a different elementary school.  When we first learned that she had been accepted, she refused to go.  She is a happy, positive student.  Her school may not have been challenging her at her level, but that never bothered her.  She is outgoing and loves her friends.  She enjoys consistency and patterns.  Already, her best friend was moving to another state.  She did not want to lose everyone else, too.

At first, I just talked her into attending a meeting about the program.  The meeting went well, and she soon agreed to try the school for the first two weeks.  All through the summer, she told her friends that she would only be gone for two weeks.  She was certain that she would come back to her previous school.

After the first day of school, I was eager to meet her at the bus stop and see how things had gone.  I was hopeful that a week or two of the school would give her the taste of what she didn't even know that she yearned for.  It did not take even that long.  Ever since starting the new program, Bethelle comes home eager to share with us what she learned in school that day.  In previous years, she seldom had anything to talk about that did not revolve around her recess activities.  She is all lit up inside.  She knows that it is harder, and she loves it.  By the second day, she told her friends that she would not be coming back to their school.  She was where she needed to be.

Wow.  This post has side-tracked.  I thought I was here to talk about weeding.  In an effort to help her feel connected to her new school, Nick and I took the family to their weeding day just before the start of the school year.

Pierce was less than helpful, but enjoyed himself.
 Some of the areas we weeded looked more like vegetable gardens than landscaping.  The school has bird feeders nearby.  The squirrels and birds seem to have planted this garden, but the volunteers weed it for them.  I have never seen birds weed.
 After the weeding, the school's nature expert took us on an impressive walk through long trails near the school and through an herb garden, flower garden, and texture garden.  The kids are encouraged to pick and eat or smell or feel whatever is ripe.
 They also have a nature hut where they keep various treasures that the students find and collect.  This nest was a recent find and addition to the hut.
So I'd say it was a great day for Bethelle and for our whole family.  I think it did help her to feel herself planting into her new environment, as service always does.  We all look forward to the coming years at this new school.

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