Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Community

When you're staring at the far side of the bell curve of statistical probability, 'normal' in many ways ceases to have much meaning.

Let me run through a few basic numbers with you and I'll explain how improbable our life is, from a statistical perspective.


If you're identified as gifted, that means you are ( according to the tests), part of a group that represents 2% of the population. If you are identified as profoundly gifted it's about 0.02%.

I'll try and break that down into real numbers.

Imagine the population of Melbourne, 4.077 million people, a large chunk of them wondering how bad peak-time traffic over the West Gate Bridge will be today. 2% represents 81,540 people - about half the population of Geelong, some of whom are taking a lovely walk along the the beach to look at the bollards as we speak.  If you are highly to profoundly gifted, that number dwindles to 815 people - about enough people to fill 1/3 of Hammer Hall, which would be a devastatingly poor turnout for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Only 26% of Australia's population are children, so that whittles the total down a bit as well: 211 children in greater Melbourne - a busy day at say, Hay's paddock in Kew.

If we start including twice exceptional, for my son, 1 in 500 children have cerebral palsy - so we're already below one for the population of greater Melbourne. If we loosen the criteria a little - gifted children with cerebral palsy, that number rises to 42 children - a rather large (for us) birthday party.

There's not much point in going further with C's challenges, as getting into fractional people is probably getting ridiculously more absurd than this number game is already. . .

. . . and none of these numbers even include homeschooling, which represents just over 3500 children in Victoria.

My point in doing these rather crude number calculations, is alas, not just for fun - though I do enjoy 'mucking around with numbers'. Nor is it designed to be a pity-party for one (cue tinny violin). But it does mean that finding other families that are also living through the same challenges that we are - that can offer advice on the road less traveled are few and far between.

Finding other parents that understand our journey is particularly invaluable when no mainstream parenting book comes close to covering the variations in the journey. I must admit, I'm a bit of a reader and researcher (you might have noticed), so when I'm faced with a new situation, my instinct is to find the 'right' book. It should tell you a lot when I say I threw away all my parenting books. I threw away books.

Which is why, for me and my family, finding the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and the people and groups I have found through its pages has been so important. It is a place where difference is not just tolerated, but embraced. Where if I ask a question, however obscure and seemingly isolated, there will be another parent, somewhere in the world who's been there, done that. It's the reassurance that I don't have to reinvent the wheel, but can borrow from the wisdom of others and 'stand on the shoulders of giants' as it were.

It has made a huge difference for our family - from the first hilarious reading of Jen's 'If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?' to the daily reliance on cool experiments and activities that GHF is always providing on their facebook page.

It has turned this mum from 'terrified in a cupboard' to 'cautiously optimistic'. I am no longer quite as afraid of the dusty, overgrown path our life will take, but have my backpack packed, and my GHF GPS at the ready for challenges along the way. It might even be fun.

And so, in my round-about way, from one very grateful mum, I'd like to wish Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, a very happy 10th Birthday. May you live long and prosper.


This post is part of the GHF Blog Hop on Finding Your Community. Check out the other participants!


9 comments:

  1. Love this:
    "It has turned this mum from 'terrified in a cupboard' to 'cautiously optimistic'. I am no longer quite as afraid of the dusty, overgrown path our life will take, but have my backpack packed, and my GHF GPS at the ready for challenges along the way. It might even be fun."

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  2. The profoundly gifted part is one journey, the special needs part is another journey, the food journey is another. We need fingers in all these pies..

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  3. GHF GPS positions you with resources and space-time to be fully understood, which can be rare for rare minds.

    Happy birthday GHF!

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  4. Loved this post, Kathleen. Thanks.

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  5. You have an amazing way with words and numbers (two of my biggest passions). Thanks for your blog, which helps provide the community and collective wisdom which so many of us crave. :)

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  6. Great post! I love the examples you give to demonstrate the numbers represented by the percentages of the population.

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  7. Love the idea of demonstrating the numbers in a way that makes sense for your core audiences. Such a great idea.

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  8. I'd do the number crunching for our area, but I think it might sending me sobbing under my desk...

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