Right now, here’s where we stand.
Kaleb has science, math, and French tutors. He does swimming lessons and karate. Some weeks it feels like way too much (for me), other weeks it feel like not enough (for him). I can only assume that means it’s just right?
We’re trying to take it one day at a time.
(Ha. Easier said than done.)
I could say that Kaleb’s giftedness has taken us off the path we expected, but I could also maybe say that it gave us an excuse. We wouldn’t be able to homeschool if it wasn’t for my husband’s job. Well, we could, but it would have been more difficult. If I wasn’t a stay at home mom, it would be more difficult. If we had another kid, it would be more difficult. But there are other reasons we do what we do too. I enjoy being a stay at home mom and my husband enjoys his job. I never want to be pregnant again and while I love, love, love other people’s babies, I’d rather just hog their babies and then send them on their way than have any more myself. Plus, think of the environment. I’d rather blame the environment.
I think we also have more opportunities in some ways. We wanted to hunker down for a bit and let Kaleb get established at a school. We actually bought a house right behind the school… how’s that for karma? But now we can kind of go anywhere or do anything. We’re taking a two week trip to Europe next month and while I am not a person to hesitate pulling a 4 year old out of school to visit world class museums and historic sites, it’s definitely one less thing to worry about.
In other ways, it’s difficult. I am realizing I really have to stop talking about baby milestones. Like shut it down and just not open my mouth. It’s difficult, because it’s nice commiserating and reminiscing. My kid is literally my life, so it’s difficult not to talk about him, yet I don’t necessarily want to talk about him especially when he’s in ear shot. We have more expenses and less income (ideally, I would have a job right now and be making money while Kaleb was in school). Even just the reality of the possibility of him going to university early – will we be able to afford it? We were supposed to have until he was 18 to build that fund, and even then, it was meant to be a supplement. I have no problems telling an adult to pay their own school and I’ll help where I can, but a kid? Would the local 40k/year private school be a better option than early entrance? They have a mass spectrometer after all and he’d be with age mates. But 40k a year? To put that into perspective, universities in Canada – world class universities – cost about 8k. Not that I want to think of those things now, who knows what will happen, but you kind of have to give it at least a passing thought in a fiscal responsibility kind of way.
Yes, we have already reached the point where I’m finding it difficult to teach him certain subjects. But that’s okay. We’re learning together. We’ve been so lucky that we’ve received help from teachers and guidance counsellors and friends and families. And luckily, we still do a lot of play. He learned chess from his karate camp, and has been teaching me and it’s been a nice change of pace.
It’s difficult to not to worry about the day that’s fast approaching. This kid’s first love is chemistry. Chemistry. Of all the things, it’s a subject that can be really dangerous and you really need to have access to a lab and someone with a knowledge of safety procedures. Pick up The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star by Tom Clynes if you need convincing of how dangerous this passion can get. Oh yeah, because my son is obsessed with radioactivity so if this book isn’t a warning sign, I don’t know what else is. What if he decides to start secretly doing this stuff himself one day?
But almost more dangerous than that, is what if this great passion of his fizzles out? I know, I’ve read articles about not using the word “passion” to describe kid’s interests but what else should I call it? He lives for this stuff. I started dancing when I was 2. It quickly became my life. What if I had only been able to dance in my living room? What if I had never known the joy of performing on stage for an audience? Or hell, never having that feeling of simply standing at the ballet barre, feeling the smooth wood in one hand and hearing the music fill the room, inspecting my own moves in the mirror? Being a part of a team, who despite our different ages all share a common interest? How long would I have loved to dance if I had to go at it alone? How long is my son going to love what he loves when he won’t have the opportunity to be in a lab on a regular basis for years?
And you’re right. Even if he falls out of love with chemistry he’ll do fine at whatever else he chooses. And maybe he’ll fall out of love with it anyways. I mean, he’s just a baby in the grand scheme of things! But I would rather he fall out of love with it after I do everything in my power to encourage it; than watch it fizzle out because it wasn’t given a real chance to grow.
But for now he’s satisfied. He’s happy. So I’m happy.
We just have to take it one day at a time. Easier said than done.