Educating Dragons: In The Beginning….

The link between intelligence and mental disorders has been discussed for centuries.  Does madness accompany high intelligence?

Many great artists, composers, sculptors, writers, and politicians were reported to struggle with depression, mania, voices, and other symptoms of brain disorders.  Is this known only because they were famous?  Or does it happen to regular people too?

There have been hundreds of contradicting studies and the jury has not come back with a ruling yet.  Personally, I just think dragons get bored are require a lot of stimuli.  At least the one in my head does.

Yes, I Am Smart

This is not to brag.  It has been a challenge all my life.

12610015281Zyj53I cannot tell you how often I was bored in school. Everything seemed so easy most of the time. If it weren’t for my parents (especially my mother) I could have easily been a problem child.  My brain was always running full speed and I absorbed information like a sponge.  The 3 R’s (reading, [w]riting, and [a]rithmatic) seemed to be hard wired into my brain.

I always had extra time after my assignments were done to fidget and cause problems.  Did I cause problems?  Are you kidding!  My parents would have eaten me alive.  I did a lot of extra reading and art projects.  Many of my siblings were in the same boat as I was.

The Challenge

Back when I was going to school, in the mid to late 70’s and early 80’s, there were not as many educational options available to advanced, overachieving students.  My siblings and I were registered into any advanced academic programs available through the grade school.

As we entered junior high and high school, my parents encouraged us to take the honors and college prep classes that were available to us.  I did.  As many as I could.

We Had Our Own Library

I remember long periods of time when we did not have a TV but, we always had a large library of books.  All kinds of books from classic literature to biographies to Dr. Seuss to brain candy.  To my parents it was an investment.

reading_tentReading was required at home.  Every day.

We read as a family and as individuals.  We talked about the books we were reading.  We often had lively and entertaining discussions around the dinner table.

Funny Story

My mother got a call from our school teachers about our grades suddenly dropping.  They wanted to know if we had just gotten a TV and were spending too much time in front of it.  Our homework assignments were incomplete, late or, not turned in.

My mother started to chuckle and had to explain to the teachers that it was just the opposite.  Our TV had died, and she had not thought to tell us to put down our books and go do our homework.  We were reading biographies, classics, and other good books.  Our teachers did not know what to say….

Good Enough Was Not Good Enough

Our best was always required.  Just because I could skate through many of my subjects did not mean that I was allowed to.

My siblings and I were required to complete all our homework. On time.

If we complained that it was too easy, then we had better not make any mistakes. If we did than my mother would make us do it all over again to show her that we really did understand the material.

If it really was too easy than Mom would talk to the teacher and see if there was more advanced work that we could do.  Grade school was fun and challenging when I had the right teachers.  On the other hand, I remember classes where I did a lot of art projects and extra things because I got my work done so quickly.

While I enjoyed the fun things, I was often bored in class. I craved mental challenges.

My Busy Brain

A dragon who is bored gets into a lot of trouble.

All my life, my brain worked differently than other people I knew.  It was always running, suddenly turning corners, and going different directions at the same time.  This could have been a serious impediment to learning.

Focusing on the lessons could be difficult and very frustrating when your brain is wandering off without you.  Especially when I felt the teacher was going too slow.  I tended to do things without listening to all the directions and was required to do things over.

Fortunately for me, I had parental intervention.

I was taught to visualize what I was learning.  To see the mechanics behind the concepts and how they were combined to create the end result.  This learning technique used all the parts of my brain that could have gotten me into trouble if they were left to themselves.

Advantages of Visualization

When I close my eyes, I have two different options for visualizing the information coming in.

The white board on the back of my eyelids.  I can actually write out or sketch the information.  This allows me to do things that normally require paper.  As long as there are no more than 2 or 3 pieces of information.

My invisible workshop.  I have the ability to read or listen to a description and build a 3D model in my mind.  I can then rotate it for a clear picture, make changes, and explain it.  Is this something learned?  I don’t know.  I’ve always been able to do it.  My father did it and taught me, through example and discussions, how to refine the skill and make use of it.

This was part of the reason that information was absorbed, analyzed, categorized, and organized so quickly.

Before Dragons Hatch

When I was very young Bip hadn’t hatched yet.  My head was filled with the normal things of childhood.  I laughed and skipped and argued with my siblings.  I played inside, outside, and upside-down.

I was taught that learning was an adventure and information was treasure.  That if I worked hard enough, nothing was impossible.

Learning was something we did as a family.  Educational, informational, and lively discussions were had around the dinner table.  This was an important factor later in my life.

It gave me a solid foundation for learning before Bip hatched.

3 thoughts on “Educating Dragons: In The Beginning….

  1. Pingback: Education Dragons: The Teen Years – myoxisamoron

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