Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grades, Homeschooling, and Giftedness.

One of the perpetual questions you hear when you're a child is "what grade are you in?" But, when you're a homeschooler, you're often in several grades at once. When your child is gifted besides, the spread of grades is sometimes fairly spectacular. So what do you say - or does your child say?

To this point, we've gone with the grade associated with Mad Natter's age. He's in the first grade, because he is six. That also gives us more of that blessed leeway I love so much, because there's literally no way for me to have him fall below grade level. He would have to learn absolutely nothing (a gifted kid? HA!) for several years in order for that to happen. However, as we head into our final push for school for the year (we end "formal" school when we finish up several of our books in May, but we keep going on an informal basis year round), I've started tallying up how Mad Natter compares against our provincial standards and I have to sort out what to do for next year. Now, granted, as homeschoolers, it doesn't really matter. Whether I call him first grade, tenth grade, fifteenth grade, it's all the same instruction on my end, all the same learning for him. But, there are certain expectations involved in grade levels, and also in when certain levels of coursework can be taken. As a result, this gets more and more challenging as Mad Natter gets older - if he's completed elementary science, then other things need to be covered, and in order to gain access to those courses, he needs to have completed certain grades, but I also don't want to rush him through things.

I think that very simply put, if I want to get him into the things he'll be ready for, he'll need to be at the appropriate grade levels, and I also feel a bit as though it's underselling what he's doing to continue labeling his work as "grade one" when it clearly isn't. For now, I think we're going to bump from grade 1 this year to grade 3 next, and see how that goes, and from there. If he were in a brick and mortar school, he would easily be in grade three come the fall, if not grade four. But, skipping one grade at a time just 'feels' right - between the notion of acceleration, the work he's doing, and what he is capable of, grade three feels like the right decision, even if it's not quite the same as his chronological age.