by Jenny Curzan
Sometimes it seems challenging to find a safe, accepting place to express your gratitude, joys, and successes. Many people would rather hear about the struggles. But, that is just not me and not the way I do life.
I recently attended a discussion on gifted math identity, which got me thinking about my son’s mathematical journey. Michael craves mathematics like someone under water too long craves oxygen. When I spoke to him as a baby and counted with him in a sing-song way, he was mesmerized and amused. He loved learning his numbers, he loved learning to tell time, he loved to learn. For as long as I have known him, his appetite for math has been insatiable, unquenchable.
Michael read early, devouring chapter books before kindergarten, which he started early at not-quite-five years old.
We supplemented his education at home and differentiated his math education beginning in first grade. He skipped ahead in math: first one grade level, then two grade levels, and so on. In fourth grade, we began working with high school math teachers to continue his love of learning. From fifth grade, he jumped ahead to seventh grade, skipping sixth entirely. In eighth grade, he began taking high school math.
After graduating eighth grade, our wonderful 12-year- old son explored math further and worked with Lisa Fontaine-Rainen, an incredible GHF Online instructor, on Number Theory and Proof. Lisa has helped Michael think in new ways mathematically and encouraged him to think deeply. He loves this class!
Recently, at just 13, he took a College Board math placement exam at our local community college where he has been studying; he placed in Calculus 2.
It has been and continues to be a joy to watch this young man work out problems on a whiteboard or on paper. For us, all of this is our “gifted win,” and we are overwhelming grateful for the journey.