After a couple months of mulling it over, I finally worked up enough nerve to ask this lovely, incredibly supportive group of homeschoolers for recommendations on a topic my son has been bugging me about for several years now.
Don’t be silly, Stacie. You can ask homeschoolers anything! Most of them are so open-minded and supportive of individual special interests that just about any topic isn’t off-limits. It’s completely irrational to have such a difficult time requesting resources on behalf of your homeschooled kid.
It’s true that many homeschoolers are extremely supportive of interest-led learning. But this is an unusual topic, to be sure. It was especially odd back when my son first expressed a broad-based interest as a Kindergartner and it’s still strangely shocking now that he has developed the basic self-reg skills necessary for such an undertaking. But, it’s becoming less weird the older he gets and the more comfortable I get with his twice-exceptionality (as well as my own).
Oh, come on! Why don’t you just go ask your local librarian for resources?
No thanks; I’ll pass. We tried that once and haven’t been able to go back to that library. The looks we got. The shuffling of children to “let’s go see what’s over here.” So many questions remained unanswered about my son’s intensity, curiosity, behaviors, and ways of experiencing the world. I didn’t yet truly know about giftedness or twice-exceptionality or overexcitabilities.
Good thing that library is out of town.
What’chu Talkin’ ‘Bout?
Explosions. Any kind. Small, medium, large. Mechanical, chemical–but especially nuclear. That’s not weird.
I blame Mythbusters. My son must have actually been paying attention to those episodes my husband and I were watching when he was toddling around the living room, climbing on furniture, and covertly feeding the Pookie dog.
Now, Mythbusters shouldn’t accept all the blame. Due in part to my interest in ALL THE THINGS and in part to my irrational fear of the TEOTWAWKI, he may have caught two seconds of a documentary about the atrocities of A-bombs. Who knew Mommy, what’s a mushroom cloud would be such a loaded question? But still. Mythbusters.
You wouldn’t believe it, but it’s incredibly difficult to find experiential learning experiences involving explosions, bombs, or nuclear reactions for an almost 9-year-old.
You can’t just have a candid conversation about such things. That’ll get you kicked out of the good Christian co-ops and blacklisted from your homeschool community. That’ll make you the seven-year-old target of fear-mongering adult rumors. People may even start badmouthing your mother.
Not that it would be any different for public-schoolers. This particular interest is rife for misunderstandings, especially for 7-year-olds firmly rooted in justice.
Big Boom Booms
He didn’t just start with needing to learn about big boom booms, though.
We had to first exhaust the 10-or-so kitchen science kits and experiment books that we currently own that have any sort of explosion or chemical reaction. Then we hit up the library (ok–multiple libraries). Then we breezed through YouTube videos and websites and a chemistry curriculum for elementary kids (we’re currently working on Physics).
But, we’ve been doing these same things for years now. They’re “boring.”
We’ve done fireworks, but–wouldn’t you know it–my son is also highly sensitive to noises and has a deep-seated concern for everyone’s personal safety, which makes him uneasy about setting them off.
The boy who loves explosions is a worrier and can’t stand the noise. Well that’s totally 2e–one big walking contradiction.
A while back, a friend suggested explosive targets, which were on our radar because–Texas–but how many exploding targets can one really do without wanting to get closer to where the (re)action is? Safety, people!
Fist Bump to My GHF Peeps
So, in addition to my own local group, I’m incredibly thankful to have found another truly supportive group of gifted/2e homeschoolers. You guys and gals get this.
I so very much appreciate that it wasn’t weird at all when I asked for help and you responded with numerous suggestions for books, websites, museums, university programs, and even your very own Nobel-prize-winning nuclear-physicist-acquaintance you might be able to hook us up with.
*Fist bump*, from one weird gifted/2e homeschooler to another.