Sunday, March 1, 2015

On Acceleration

When we first began this whole homeschooling gig, Mad Natter was three. He had asked me earlier that week to teach him how to read, and we kind of took off from there. Naturally, being me, the first thing I did was research all the various and sundry programs across subjects for the things I'd want to use going forward, and all the interesting things there were to do in a homeschool setting. The notion of not teaching him because he was too young didn't even occur to me. Unsurprisingly, that philosophy hasn't changed as Mad Natter has gotten older.

In our house, I teach. Really, I more lead than teach, but whatever. When we first started this process, I dropped information in front of Mad Natter, and we went forward at the pace he was learning. If that meant we did one math concept in a week, fine. If we did three, also fine. Depended on the week and the concepts. Same applied for all our subjects. Then, I realized I was mostly throwing things he already knew at him, so I moved him up a level.

Each subject is different, of course, but that's the extent of what we did - if he knew it, I found something else to hurl in his path to keep the incessant questions and chatter at bay. By the time I got around to quantifying what we were working on into grade levels, we were spread out across the entirety of lower elementary, and Mad Natter wasn't quite 5 yet. By now, I've gone through everything we've done, everything left for the year, compared it against the Local Mooselandia Standards, and figured out what grade placement we would need if we were in brick and mortar school. Granted, this is largely a defensive exercise so that when confronted with "why don't you just put him in school?" I have a snappy answer on hand that makes sense to people, but it's an interesting exercise all the same.

In essence, I've radically accelerated my child. I don't know that I've done it on purpose - I didn't go in planning to have him several grade levels ahead of his age group - but I've kept going in the attempt to keep him learning. We just moved at his pace. With his hatred of anything resembling "practice" and "review," a lot of digging deeper is out for us until at least he's older, but we can keep going and learning new things, which does appeal to him. And so, radical acceleration it is. He's learning at the depth of the average grade school curriculum, certainly, he's just doing it a lot faster than the local school is. Given that hate for anything boring or review-ish, I shudder to think of how he (and his teachers!) would fare in a regular school room. Especially considering that his first impulse when bored is to make a lot of noise, disrupt anyone and everyone around him, and then start jumping and yelling... yeah, I can't see that going anywhere good.

And so, we keep doing what works for us. Does it matter that I'll have a seven year old fifth grader? Not really. He's learning, I'm learning, we're working on things together and doing what works. And honestly, that's the name of the game anyhow.

This post has been part of the Hoagie's Gifted Education blog hop on Acceleration!  Feel free to hop along for more posts on the topic!