Can You Accommodate My Child’s Brilliance at Your Average Elementary School?

Hi. My child has an IQ of 140, can juggle fire and is an accomplished French chef. He was recently contacted by NASA to lead the next space mission to Mars. He is only 5, but reads at the college level. Tell me, can you accommodate such brilliance at your elementary school, here in the suburbs of Anytown, USA?

These were the types of inquiries I witnessed on a recent elementary school tour for parents of KINDERGARTNERS and FIRST GRADERS. Personally, I was just wondering how much I have to pay for the after school bug collection club if little Johnnie decides he wants to join. Does your school offer an art program because he likes to draw. Will he have any homework at night – I hope not too much because he loves zoning out for an hour after school in front of mindless Disney programming while I make dinner…

Maybe I should just succumb to the inevitable label of “Parent Who Celebrates Underachievement.” I haven’t even become the parent of a first-grader yet and the parents on this tour terrified me. I was about to pick my son up and shove him back up into my womb right then and there on the tour. I wondered if they would have all brought their kids on the tour, like I did, would their sons and daughters have been dragging about 20 minutes in, complaining about how hungry and tired they were?

It makes me nervous when one of my kid’s teachers says that he or she is a baby genius. I think teachers and daycare providers are especially skilled that they can even get those words out of their mouths with a straight face. My suggestions to parents who hear this message from their child’s teacher: this doesn’t mean they are suggesting that your kid should just skip elementary school altogether. Please don’t go around telling the rest of us parents on your school visit that little Barbie is applying for Mensa membership and you are not sure if this school is adequate for her. It won’t be if, in class, she is sitting next to my daughter, who stuck her finger in a pencil sharpener last week to see how it felt. Maybe your questions should not be directed at the principal, but at the parents of other potential enrollees. My kids get excited over stinky farts, love hunting for tiny spiders in my bathroom, and can cut play-dough with scissors for hours with the best of them. My child will be your child’s “compadre.” Are you ready for that?

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