The research and anecdotal evidence out there is pretty clear when it comes to gifted students in traditional school – acceleration of some sort is needed for gifted students. Grade skipping – jumping students ahead one grade or more – is one kind of acceleration, and often the easiest for the schools to deal with.
What about homeschooled students? Do they need to skip a grade? Should homeschool students graduate early and go to college at a young age? It depends.
It really depends on the kid. For my oldest, I’m contemplating if we’ll need to grade skip when he reaches the age of 5th or 6th grade. Academically we’ll probably have to. In all other aspects of social development and maturity, it’s looking like a really bad idea. Sure, he’s doing 5th grade science, but can he sit still and listen to a lecture? Big nope. Probably nope all the way up until 18 or more.
Homeschoolers don’t have to rely on a one-size-fits-all curriculum. We can accelerate or delay to meet our students where they are academically, and we can challenge them with high level course materials. That’s all well and good until he wants to take particle physics and I’m completely incapable of teaching him that. What do I do then?
I know my kid, you know your kid
Every kid is different. I know my kid, and I know he probably won’t be ready for college in most ways at 14 or 15. He wouldn’t even be ready for independent college at 18, judging by the way his executive functioning issues are persisting. Whatever we go with, I know that we’ll have to be involved and supporting him to help him reach academic goals. I don’t mean being a helicopter parent – I mean helping him navigate the campus system, coming up with strategies to compensate for his learning disabilities, and giving him some extra time to mature.
Sending him to college early terrifies me, frankly. Because I know it would be a super expensive mistake to expect him to thrive on his own.
High school plans
For now, I’m looking at MOOC courses, online college courses, community college dual enrollment, and building a deep, rich learning environment through those high school years that allow him to do more than his traditionally schooled counterparts. I want desperately to worldschool when the kids are older – assuming my health and our finances allow it.
Basically, I want to treat high school like it’s college. All the better if he can get credits for it that allow him to jump-start his college journey and skip the stuff he already knows. Assuming he wants to go to college. I’m pretty sure he will given his science and technology focus, but he could go off on a trade tangent or take a gap year. Who knows what the future will bring?
A different way of living
No matter what, I want him to be challenged. To love learning. To make it a lifestyle of discovering new and interesting stuff. It sound idealistic, but it’s possible. I want him to love his life as an adult instead of feeling constrained into a tiny box of responsibility far too early.
Will we grade skip? I don’t know yet, but probably not. They’re only kids once, and as long as we meet the academic needs we can give him time. That’s a gift – time to grow up.