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LNC

Seniors who turn 18 a week before graduation "young for their grade"? Yes or no?

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Based on what I hear from the parents of my son's friends and the parents of the gifted and high-achieving kids with whom I chat online, I'd say your son lucked out.

 

More often, from what I can tell, the school machinery kicks into gear to rub off the rough edges of a kid who doesn't fit the mould.

 

One of my son's friends, whom the psychologist they hired to do IQ testing when the school refused to do it said they probably shouldn't put in school at all because he was too smart to be happy there, was told for two years that he didn't deserve to have any kind of subject-matter acceleration or accomodation or anything until he learned to keep his desk neat and push in his chair at the end of the day. In general, the school's solution to keep him busy was to give him the exact same work everyone else had, just more of it.

 

They also made him re-do the exact same science textbook he'd completed the previous year, in order to keep him with his new class.

 

And that happened at a magnet school for bright kids.

 

Other parents tell me how the schools promised them all kinds of wonderful opportunities for their kids, then backed off as soon as said kid was enrolled.

 

If your son is having a different experience, I think that's wonderful, but I don't think it's typical.

 

This is the experience of my youngest as well, so far - except that nobody actually made promises -in fact, they tried to convince me not to accelerate. "They pretty much level out in a few years." Well, I wonder why. My youngest just spent 9 months sitting in a classroom (with zero differentiation) and learning nearly nothing. At least I have some comfort in knowing that daydreaming through 1st is better than suffering through KG at this age.

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I would be curious how you would feel if there is no "class".?.?.?

 

A child accelerated into the next level class should achieve more than the same aged child who is not accelerated because they should be working at a higher level with higher expectations to meet. In "school" you have to "accelerate" to do so. For the homeschooled student, you are a class of your own. As a parent who pulled her Dd from school I know what it is to walk away from the dictates of a system and allow a student to be where they belong with age being rarely relevant.

 

I was talking about B&M school students, which I realized was not the experience of many families on this forum. I don't homeschool, but I can't imagine redshirting a homeschool child either. When I say "redshirt," I don't mean placing a challenged/delayed child in a lower grade because that's what he can handle. I'm talking about giving a typical child "the gift of time" in order to smooth his path. My family culture is the opposite: take on all you can handle; everyone falls, so get up and keep going; what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. For us, class rank / sports accolades are not as important as attaining knowledge/skills. Being bored/complacent is one of the worst states we can imagine. If there were no "class," I think it would be a relief because I wouldn't have to swim against the current in this particular respect.

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I was talking about B&M school students, which I realized was not the experience of many families on this forum. I don't homeschool, but I can't imagine redshirting a homeschool child either. When I say "redshirt," I don't mean placing a challenged/delayed child in a lower grade because that's what he can handle. I'm talking about giving a typical child "the gift of time" in order to smooth his path. My family culture is the opposite: take on all you can handle; everyone falls, so get up and keep going; what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. For us, class rank / sports accolades are not as important as attaining knowledge/skills. Being bored/complacent is one of the worst states we can imagine. If there were no "class," I think it would be a relief because I wouldn't have to swim against the current in this particular respect.

 

It's funny, because we started using that phrase "the gift of time" when our kids were little, but we meant something entirely different. I always said that homeschooling in general, and our approach specifically, gave our kids the great gift of time: time to play and read and explore passions while they were young because scooting through schoolwork was so efficient when you didn't have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up; time each day to take on extra classes just because they are interesting to this particular student and not because they fulfill a requirement; time to change majors twice or thrice even if it costs an extra year in college because you started early, anyway; and once you graduate, time to take on unpaid internships or a job that sounds like fun but doesn't pay a living wage or take a couple of years to focus exclusively on building a resume in an area of interest without having to worry about paying bills . . .

 

At least for my daughter, freedom to accelerate is what has given her "the gift of time."

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Yes! I totally agree! This is really what I love about homeschooling at all ages now. When they are little, they have the time for imaginative play or to read an entire book in one day. As they get older, they have the time to explore their interests and do internships and really figure out what they want to do with their lives and where their strengths and passions lie. I feel like we are at such a crossroads right now, because I think DS may want to try PS school. I feel like if he were to do it, he should try it at 9th grade, otherwise he may wind up having to repeat classes or not get credit for certain things he already has competence in. I think I go back and forth, because although I don't really believe this, I think I let doubts creep in, like, but don't you want him to go away to college at 18, with his same-aged peers, and have that college experience, that passage in our culture. I don't really believe that, but then sometimes I hear those doubts. Truly, I think it would be super cool if the child just followed their passion and started taking college classes whenever they were ready, and maybe even finished their bachelor's degree early so that they had more time like the post above says, to try out jobs or go on and get a graduate degree.

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I was talking about B&M school students, which I realized was not the experience of many families on this forum. I don't homeschool, but I can't imagine redshirting a homeschool child either. When I say "redshirt," I don't mean placing a challenged/delayed child in a lower grade because that's what he can handle. I'm talking about giving a typical child "the gift of time" in order to smooth his path. My family culture is the opposite: take on all you can handle; everyone falls, so get up and keep going; what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. For us, class rank / sports accolades are not as important as attaining knowledge/skills. Being bored/complacent is one of the worst states we can imagine. If there were no "class," I think it would be a relief because I wouldn't have to swim against the current in this particular respect.

 

We can imagine it. Dd is in the midst of deciding whether to graduate a year early (17), "right on time" (18) or later (19). Assuming she does what is required, the decision is ultimately hers. She is not "challenged/delayed" and she doesn't need her path smoothed. She tests extremely well, performs very well academically, navigates a very busy schedule well and thus has options. I actually had another mom suggest that letting Dd have an extra year would be unfair because she is already a "competitive" applicant and an extra year would give her "too much" of an advantage. While I appreciated the candor/honesty, our family culture is not about competing with others. It is about being appreciative for what you have, striving to be your personal best and giving back/paying forward.

 

I have always felt uneasy with the idea that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, because sometimes it wounds you. You may survive, but thriving may be limited. We can find strength we may not have been called upon previously to use in times of adversity, but sometimes we emerge from the struggle with challenges that lessen our potentials. Strength of character can shine in the sunlight.

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In some schools you do have to 'accelerate', but in many a student can take independent study at the level and pace they wish. One does not have to be trapped into mediocrity if one does not want to be. It is quite common for students to use an i.s. offering or an 'arrangement' to be at a deeper level and faster pace than the group class offered. As my son pointed out, you don't have to spend fourth grade reading a comic book held in your lap while the rest of the class figures out what a fraction is; there are resources available to help you out with that passion that you've labeled your 'science project'. The label over the classroom door is largely irrelevant in this day of full inclusion...it's very much a differentiated experience if all the players agree.

 

This is not the case at the school where I work. Some kids can do things independently strangely akin to self-study with homeschooling, but that's only at the high school level.

 

ALL kids have to do the same thing before that. A 7th grader who did Algebra 1 with his folks prior to 7th grade was out of luck and stuck in the course at our school - for 2 years as ALL kids have to do Alg 1 over a 2 year period. He had top grades in his class... but I imagine he was quite bored.

 

In middle school English in order to have the 8th grade class read the same book a 4th grade reading level book is chosen. Why? Because some kids can't read beyond a 4th grade level. Tough luck to those kids who are reading at a 12th grade level at that point.

 

The motto at our school is "Academically talented kids will do well no matter what. Don't worry about them." We were specifically told that - and told that public school is not here to serve academically talented kids. It's here to serve average kids and the state requires more for below average kids...

 

Our school tests slightly below average with standardized test scores across our state... we hit target! We don't have a nice bell curve either (generally missing the upper end). We have masses right near that average.

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I didn't turn 18 until my freshman year in college. The only problem I ever had due to age was when I arranged to go on a college sponsored ski trip and the bus was delayed in the parking lot because they decided at the last minute that I needed a permission slip signed by my mommy. ;( So, we had to wait until we could reach her and have her drive back to sign one. That was before the era of cell phones. Fortunately we only lived an hour away.

 

I did take some ribbing on the bus for that!

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