When I found out that Celi Trepanier had written her debut book entitled Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling, I knew that I wanted to talk with her about the book. This book is officially being released on March 6th and I know it will be a great success and help a lot of families and children.
Here is my interview with Celi Trepanier:
1. Tell us about yourself…
Advocating for the educational, social and emotional needs of gifted children is a driving force in my life right now. I’m a former public school teacher, yet I’ve homeschooled all three of my children at some point when traditional schools did not meet their needs. I write about my experiences with giftedness in my family, how schools rarely meet the needs of gifted children and our homeschooling adventures on my blog, Crushing Tall Poppies.
2. What inspired you to write the book?
My journey from classroom teacher to homeschool mom to gifted advocate was painful and lonely. Once I realized that so many other families were in the same boat as my family and were also suffering in silence, I decided I had to speak out about the tragic relationship many gifted children and their families have with their traditional schools because of the schools’ inability to meet the needs of gifted children.
3. Were friends and family surprised by your decision to write a book?
No, it seemed to be a natural progression for my advocacy and my writing. Within the first six months of starting my blog, I had a number of friends in the gifted community who said, “you really need to write a book” because my writing resonated so much with them. It was extremely encouraging to see I was making a difference, so I was ready to take the next step and write my book.
4. Any regrets or surprises about homeschooling?
Regrets? Absolutely. And I discuss this in my book. I regret not homeschooling my three sons for the entirety of their elementary, middle school and high school years. I regret that they had to come face to face with boredom, indifference and failure while in traditional school. Self-esteem is critical in the healthy development of children, and when a child’s self-esteem is continually being chipped away while in traditional schools due to the lack of understanding and services for gifted children, fulfilling their potential seems a little more elusive.
Surprises? Oh yeah! I always say that being a classroom teacher hindered more than helped with homeschooling. The one big surprise: you do not need to reproduce the classroom at home, and I explain why this is not necessary in my book.
5. What do you hope people take away from your book?
You are not alone in your fight to find an appropriate education for your gifted child. No matter where you are on your journey, you will find advice, help and support for every step of the way—with trying to understand our public school system and its inability to address the needs of our gifted children, with how to best advocate for your gifted child at their traditional school, how and when to make the decision to homeschool, and finally, practical and inspirational advice about homeschooling.
6. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling? About gifted children?
Oh, those are loaded questions!
Homeschooling: The biggest misconception about homeschooling I believe is that it is often seen as a second-rate education compared to traditional school when in reality, the reverse is true. Homeschooling breaks free of the confining walls of a brick and mortar school, and the exceptional learning opportunities and advantages for children then become almost infinite.
Gifted Children: There are many hurtful myths and misconceptions about our gifted children, but the most destructive is the one that our children are smart and can fend for themselves—they have it made. This myth seems to play the most influential role in the miseducation and neglect of our gifted children in the traditional school system.
7. How do you feel about having trained and served as a public school teacher and finding that the system didn’t work for your own gifted child?
At first I felt betrayed because I trusted our school system. I was a dyed-in-the-wool public school teacher and my people had turned against me. I came to realize that gifted children were wholly misunderstood and miseducated by so many educators who were never trained to recognize, identify and educate gifted children. That stark realization was eye-opening. Yet, as a public school teacher, I too, was once one of the those untrained teachers who did not understand giftedness in children. My perspective comes from both sides of the fence now.
8. Is there anything else that you would like us to know?
Although my book, Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling, discusses the education of gifted children, this situation reflects a larger issue: our traditional school system is failing many of our children whether they are gifted, special needs or typical students. All parents of school-age children may find themselves fighting with their schools to get the educational needs of their child met, and they may find themselves contemplating homeschooling. The information, advice and support in my book can help any family looking for a better education for their children.