Saturday, March 12, 2011

An introduction...

Welcome to my blog!  Let me show you around...

I am the Diva.  No, I'm not one of those pompous Sopranos who think they're all that and a bag of chips.  But I am a singer and a voice teacher.  Teaching became a passion of mine later in life.  I hold a bachelors of science from WPI and worked as a database designer for many years.  After the birth of my daughter, Peanut, I switched back to my first love of music and started teaching.  In my nerd life, I still managed to pick up gigs here and there and landed the job of Soprano Section Leader at First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, a job that I still hold today. 

Music started very early with me.  My mother, an accomplished alto, would sit and play the piano with me either in her lap or next to her on the bench when I was little.  By the time I was 12, she had me up in front of the tiny Methodist church we attended singing duets with her for the Sunday service.  I started piano lessons in 2nd grade and was my piano teacher's youngest student for a time -- I continued my studies through 12th grade on the piano.  I seriously considered going to school for piano performance.  My parents, practical sorts that they are, nudged me in the direction of an education that would "lead to something".  After graduating from WPI, at the urging of the music director for the community chorus I sang with, I started voice lessons.  Twelve years later (or so), I am accomplished soloist, an on-again, off-again musical director, and a voice teacher with a growing studio.  This alone has been quite a journey.

But I haven't even gotten to the second half of this blog's title - the Brain.  The Brain is my daughter, Peanut.  She's always been a little small for her age and has had this nickname since birth.  She turns five in May.  Early on, she made it clear to us that she wasn't an ordinary little kid -- although, I'm not so sure there's anything ordinary about any kid.  She started speaking between 6 and 9 months - her first words were "kitty cat".  She learned signing as a baby and had a significant vocabulary before her verbal skills caught up.  By age three, we started to use the word "gifted" to describe her.  Somewhere around this age, I was pointed to Deborah Ruf's Work which turned into an eye-openning read for us.  Peanut was somewhere between level four and level five!  At about age 3.5, I started formally homeschooling her -- at her insistance.  She had so many questions (usually at inconvenient times, like say, when I was trying to get dinner on the table) that she needed answers for. Right. Now. Sitting down for a couple hours a day to do school filled her need and saved us a few burned dinners.  As of this writing, her reading is somewhere around a 3rd - 4th grade level and her math skills are 2nd - 3rd grade. 

Yes, I've gotten flack from people about starting school so early with her.  And yes, I believe some people think I'm just one of those over-achieving stage moms.  If I met me at some random point in time, I might think the same thing.  And believe me, this is a balancing act of sorts.  Peanut is still very much a 4 (going on 16) year old girl.  She likes to wear skirts, get her nails painted, play Barbies, run around at the playground, and mix her Play-Doh colors together until they make a fine shade of grey.  She also has tantrums, won't eat her vegetables, and doesn't listen to reason.  So while we can use "gifted" to describe her, I use it more to keep me focussed on how best to help her navigate the world academically and to help her understand why her thought processes go where they go.  It's not there to encapsulate her -- one word is never enough to describe a person.

So what's this blog all about?  No, it's not a bragging page about Peanut's intelligence, although, the rewards and challenges of working with a highly intelligent child will certainly come up regularly.  It's also not a shameless self-promotion page.  I will be putting together a website in the near future for that.  What I hope this becomes is a place for me to record this journey.  I admit, for Peanut, that I'm not so good at writing stuff down.  I never obsessively kept a baby book for her.  Aside from one-liners on Facebook about what mischief she's currently into, I don't write down milestones either.  There is a mailing list for gifted homeschoolers that I post to frequently with little snapshots of our lives, as well as questions and concerns.   I realized yesterday as I was posting that what I was writing was more than just a little piece of advice to someone else -- it was a true picture of our family, something that might be worth reading again at some point. 

I also want a place to track myself as a teacher -- as the homeschooling mom and as the studio teacher.  I have a lot of stuff just randomly kicking around my head.  It might help me to work through it to actually put them on paper (or the screen).

So, again, welcome!  I look forward to sharing our journey with you.


  1. Great read. Adding it to my list of frequented blogs

  2. As the mom of a gifted "brain" child myself, who cannot sing to save her soul, I think the blog is a fantastic idea! I shall look forward to your posts for I am sure they will be most interesting!