What is it they say about the best-laid plans? I’m a planner, I plan everything. Motherhood was no different, I planned the gap I wanted to have between my children and based this around financial outlay. The plan was to have baby number 2 at an age gap that would mean I would only have one set of nursery/school fees to pay at a time, i.e. I would come off my second maternity leave just as Zea was starting Reception. That all worked out well until then I realized my child was gifted and required extra resources I hadn’t budgeted for.
We enrolled her into a good state school and on day one the teacher said to me “She is so clever”. I felt slightly reassured by this but then they sent her home with books to read that had one word and a picture next to it on each page. Bear in mind, Zea had taught herself to read and had authored a book before the first day of Reception. I knew it was going to be a long journey after that.
Each of us will be or soon become familiar with the need to advocate for the support of our children’s needs in a classroom. I think the issue with school is that it is not set up for learning really, it is set up for preparing for and passing exams and moving on to the next phase. This is an issue for our more able children as they are not seen to need the extra support other children need. So, I did some reading and found out that getting your child officially tested was a good way to get the school to pay attention and get you some help. I then looked up the price of the tests and nearly fell off my chair (not being dramatic). All the tests I found cost hundreds of £s! I also found out that it wasn’t guaranteed to make enough of a difference at school because most schools just do not have the resources.
So, what can you do? Here’s what I did:
- I turned to charities like PPUK and the free questionnaire available on their websites.
- Joined some UK Facebook groups with other parents trying to find ideas and support for their children. These really helped me to not feel alone in the struggle. Also, a safe place to talk about your children without being accused of bragging.
- Moved Zea into an independent school who had the resources to meet her needs i.e. a gifted and talented program, and a range of activities to keep her stimulated.
- Listened to her and acted. This can be challenging, for example, Zea has specifically taken an interest in archaeology. Every young archaeologist program we’ve found starts from 8+, so we visit museums, watch documentaries and find out how we can meet archaeologists to keep the passion alive.
- Started this blog to try to help other parents
What are some of the resources you have found that don’t cost lots of money?