Whew! It’s over! A very long weekend for us, but it was completely worth it.
I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about the gifted experts at the SEA conference that I attended talks on, or met in person. And let me say, these people know their stuff!
I blog about gifted and twice exceptional, but I am not an expert. We live it and I research a lot, but the experts are truly far more capable that I could ever be. That’s why they do the talks and I listen! Despite all my research and living with 2e, I learned a lot. I have a deeper understanding of how giftedness works, and how to work around the issues while homeschooling.
I got to meet Corin Goodwin, founder of Gifted Homeschooler’s Forum. She’s an amazing, down-to-earth person, and she’s so helpful and open about her experiences with her children as well as many other gifted kids that she’s worked with. If you ever get a chance to listen to one of her talks, do it! It’s worth it. If you ever get a chance to talk to her in person, go for it – you won’t regret it.
Corin and her daughter, Madeline (a teacher for GHF’s online courses) are currently in DC presenting GHF’s paper with the results of their education survey. I can only hope that the government will take note! It’s important that the education department realize they have an opportunity to get feedback from us: homeschoolers who left the education system because it didn’t work for us.
I also attended Heather Boorman’s talk on Wellness and the Gifted Child. Heather writes at the Fringy Bit, and while I’ve followed her blog for a while, listening to her was a completely different experience. She knows her stuff! She was amazingly helpful, and focused on some of the issues that we deal with personally. I found her take on stress and ways to deal with anxiety to be particularly helpful for our situation. While she didn’t specifically point out sensory processing disorder issues, I understood more about why my kiddos respond the way they do after her presentation.
Shameless plug here: Heather practices at Boorman Counseling, and is available for online consultations as well as in-person therapy. It’s so hard to find medical professionals that get our gifted kids, so I share every chance I get!
I had a chance to meet and attend a talk by Rebecca Wald, a psychologist who specialized in homeschoolers and gifted/2e kids. A perfect fit! I was blown away by her expertise and willingness to offer helpful suggestions. She’s close to us in Baltimore, and she’s on the top of my list for the neuropysch evaluation that we need for the Engineer in the next few years.
Thanks to Wald’s talk “Reading: When To Worry” I am no longer worried about the Engineer having dyslexia. Her presentation was very detailed, and even gave us a brief look at how the brain actually works when learning to read. Wald practices in Baltimore at Minds In Focus, and does educational evaluations as well as traditional therapy.
Despite being a little late (thank you GPS for sending us on a weird, winding back road) I managed to hear most of Dr. Kemnitz’ talk on homeschooling gifted students. Dr. Kemnitz was one of the most encouraging speakers that I heard, and his advice to let our kids dive in and learn was exactly what I needed to hear. Dr. Kemnitz is twice exceptional with his own, now adult gifted kids. His gentle humor and understanding of 2e issues was a wonderful change from the mainstream advice we parents often hear.
Dr. Kemnitz is the president of Royal Fireworks Press, a curriculum company with rigorous academic options. I pulled this quote from their website because I find it hilariously funny:
“We do not use worksheets. We believe that they are the neutron bombs of education; they kill all intelligent life while leaving the textbook intact.”
Dr. Kemnitz, About Royal Fireworks Press
I had the chance to look at many of the RFP options at their vendor table while I was there, and I was impressed! Most of the material was too advanced for the Engineer, but we’ll be revisiting their curriculum when he’s reading fluently. Particularly Michael Clay Thompson’s language arts curriculums, and the Greek and Latin curriculums.
I won’t list all of the vendors that attended but I did want to point out that Nitty Gritty Science was there. I find that extremely encouraging and wonderful! I had previously found NGS on Teachers Pay Teachers and loved their hands-on, interactive notebook products. I am encouraged that mainstream resources are looking at homeschoolers, particularly secular homeschoolers as a viable market.
It’s important as a parent of gifted and 2e kids to feel connected to our community. Like our kids, we parents need a group of peers who understand our struggles. Who go through the same issues. Particularly as homeschoolers, because trying to teach gifted kids often feels like we’re living in a zoo or insane asylum. Attending the SEA conference, while not specifically geared towards gifted, helped give me that personal connection. We need support. We need people who get it. And we need to feel like we’re doing a good job!
A big thank you to all the volunteers and admin who made the SEA conference happen. I know it was a huge undertaking, especially because this was the first one. I’m already looking forward to the next one!