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Kinsa

UPDATED: Does anyone on this board have a NON-superstar high school student?

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I have four middle-of-the-road children, if life is measured solely by academic performance. As academics hardly constitute the most important elements of life, I am unconcerned. Maybe one or more is "gifted". I never thought it relevant to find out. One child does possess extraordinary music ability, according to one professional. I encourage her to work hard, but I also recognize and accept that she is not headed into a music career. (So I stress the importance of avocation and of doing something for the pure joy of the activity.)

 

Each of my children is successful in his or her chosen field, at the stage of life reached by each, respectively. Most importantly, to my husband and to me, each of our children has chosen to remain in our religion, and to live it with active belief and devotion. As parents, we could not ask for more.

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I think we see a lot of threads on the extreme ends of the bell curve -- advanced/gifted and delayed/LDs -- because families need help addressing those special needs. Families with average students who are "getting it done", just keep plugging away and don't tend to post because they don't have specific needs or questions. Also, I think we see a lot of super-star student threads because this is a classical education board, and classical education focuses on academic rigor, which matches up well with top tier colleges and scholarships.

 

 

This.

 

I think when kids are superstars parents are searching for how to teach them, how to help them reach their full potential. When they are struggling, the same issues are there, parents struggling to figure out what to do. Typical kids take typical homeschool curriculum, they do it each day, they don't need more, they don't need less. There are no big questions about is it enough. It is because it is all they can do. There are no questions of how can we do it, because they do it.

 

My belief is that the vast majority of people who come here have typical kids. Some read and get inspiration and stay. Some feel overwhelmed and leave. Most don't bother to post which is a shame because the majority of visitors would do well to hear their voice. I wish that more parents of average students would review curriculum, talk about how their year is going, tell what they will be doing next year and why, dive in. I understand the intimidation factor brought on by those with superstar kids and that there are those who will post harsh judgmental "that isn't enough" responses. However, I think if the majority would stop being quiet, it could easily find a voice and be a support to so many more families, some of whom feel very alone and inadequate.

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:-)

 

You're not alone, Karen.

 

My kids are all over the board, academically.

 

It makes it even harder with health issues that impact cognitive abilities.

 

It's also tough when people tell you that you shouldn't even be on the College Board when you have a kid who struggles academically.

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It's also tough when people tell you that you shouldn't even be on the College Board when you have a kid who struggles academically.

What the heck?  Who does this?

 

(((hugs)))

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:-)

 

You're not alone, Karen.

 

(1)  My kids are all over the board, academically.

 

(2)  It makes it even harder with health issues that impact cognitive abilities.

 

(3)  It's also tough when people tell you that you shouldn't even be on the College Board when you have a kid who struggles academically.

 

(1)  Mine are too, to be honest.  I just never was interested in advertising their abilities.  (My exception at WTM was to write about one son's somewhat eccentric high school transcript, because I thought it very interesting in nature.)  We have taken no AP exams, and dual credit here is severely limited by CC rules to a minimum age of seventeen, a maximum of two courses per year, and irritating hoops-and-barrels to navigate for homeschoolers to be admitted. . . .  "All over the map", within the same child, works out to average.

 

(2)  Same here.  Even more delightful (cough) when I, the teacher, share in the conditions (behavioural and cognitive).

 

(3)  OUCH!!!  Shall I call it snobbery or bullying?  Can't decide.   

 

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I had to laugh at this since I am more ADD than any of my children.  I have huge focus issues.  I hate it. 

 

 

(2)  Same here.  Even more delightful (cough) when I, the teacher, share in the conditions (behavioural and cognitive).

 

 

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I think this is a great thread, by the way.  My older dd being very intelligent and hard-working makes it even more difficult to understand how to school my "normal" kids and my expectations of them are probably too high.  It is refreshing to hear that normal is....okay :)

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I too have enjoyed this thread. Sometimes it seems that the HS board is just a "bigger" version of the preschool board. The folks with super early readers dominate the posts about reading. I don't want advice on teaching reading from someone who didn't really "teach" their child to read. Similarly, the posters with superstar HS students dominate seem to dominate the HS board. Their advice is seen as definitive because their students have had such success. Extremely advanced curricula are discussed as if they are expected HS fare, and perfectly good curricula are frequently dismissed as not rigorous enough.

 

My DH, who has been a high school math teacher for 25 years, is famous in our house for his discussions of teaching highly motivated, academic students. He calls it "feeding piranhas." It's easy and enjoyable and not particularly challenging. His greatest challenges have always come from his less motivated students. These are the students that require his amazing teaching skills, these are the students who stretch him as a teacher, these are the students who send him looking for different approaches. 

 

It's great that the board offers a place for parents to discuss their superstar students. But, I'd certainly love to see the majority of homeschool parents chime in more and not be intimidated by those discussions (myself included).

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I too have enjoyed this thread. Sometimes it seems that the HS board is just a "bigger" version of the preschool board. The folks with super early readers dominate the posts about reading. I don't want advice on teaching reading from someone who didn't really "teach" their child to read. Similarly, the posters with superstar HS students dominate seem to dominate the HS board. Their advice is seen as definitive because their students have had such success. Extremely advanced curricula are discussed as if they are expected HS fare, and perfectly good curricula are frequently dismissed as not rigorous enough.

.

 

 

This is why I don't give much advice, etc.  I have not pushed my dd...she has taught herself, pushed herself, etc.  Her intelligence far exceeds mine.  I wish I had some great advice...then maybe I could help my other kids be more motivated/driven/academic :glare:

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Well I'm going to wade in and ask what I'm hoping others are also asking: how should those of us with super-star students post here without making others feel badly?  I only now have a 9th grader so have only dabbled on this board; I generally stay on the accelerated board.  But I am somewhat dismayed by some of the comments here knowing that I need to spend more time on the high school board and knowing that I don't want to make anyone feel badly. Any suggestions?

 

Ruth in NZ

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Kinsa, on 18 Jan 2015 - 12:42 AM, said:

I have to admit that I get very discouraged sometimes while here on this forum. So many of you have "knock-the-ball-outta-the-park" high schoolers. I seem like the only one with an average, run-of-the-mill kid.

 

Don't get me wrong. He's a GREAT kid. But he's military bound, or possibly technical college bound if we are lucky. He will be graduating with minimum requirements. Getting him through algebra is like pulling teeth. No AP classes; no dual credit classes; no CLEP exams even. He's just not terribly academic.

 

Please tell me I'm not the only one with a non-superstar student. Let me know I'm not alone.

 

Ds isn't at high school yet, but yes, he is an average scholar.

 

He's also a great kid. Kind, empathetic, practically minded. Funny. Personable. Capable.

 

It's OK to be average academically. Average is where a lot of people are :)

 

It was hard for me, because both my girls are brighter-than-average academically. So I battle feelings of failure with this one.

 

You're not alone - statistically speaking, you've got company :)

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Well I'm going to wade in and ask what I'm hoping others are also asking: how should those of us with super-star students post here without making others feel badly?  I only now have a 9th grader so have only dabbled on this board; I generally stay on the accelerated board.  But I am somewhat dismayed by some of the comments here knowing that I need to spend more time on the high school board and knowing that I don't want to make anyone feel badly. Any suggestions?

 

Ruth in NZ

 

I will go on record as not believing this is your problem. Let it go, back out of the thread, go on about your business as if this conversation were not happening --- seriously. That's what I think.

 

When my eldest, who is a Super-dee-duper High Achiever type, was still homeschooling I found that these forums were the only place I could talk about him, but even here I toned it WAY down. Most of my conversations about his truly high flyer stuff and his very real 2E challenging stuff were done privately, on FB or through pm here. So these forums aren't perfect for the special-specials all the time but they are by far the best on the 'net that I've found for high school level discussions. What a shame it would be if people worried even more than they do about making others feel bad just by telling the truth!!

 

IMO, the onus is on those of us who are also (or exclusively) teaching non-geniuses (or geniuses who apply their gifts elsewhere than the academic) to speak up and explain what we're doing and confidently state that it is more than good enough. Others might be encouraged to do the same, and then the discussions would be broader and more inclusive.

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Well I'm going to wade in and ask what I'm hoping others are also asking: how should those of us with super-star students post here without making others feel badly?  I only now have a 9th grader so have only dabbled on this board; I generally stay on the accelerated board.  But I am somewhat dismayed by some of the comments here knowing that I need to spend more time on the high school board and knowing that I don't want to make anyone feel badly. Any suggestions?

 

Ruth in NZ

First, you have been nothing but helpful to so many people that I don't think you are in danger of making anyone feel bad!

 

You should definitely feel comfortable talking about your advanced student. And, as far as I can recall, all your discussions of your ds have pointed out that you are talking about a super advanced math student (and one that spends an extraordinary amount of time on math). I think that is really the key. Just to make sure that discussions of high school work for advanced students are explicit about the advanced nature of the student. I think what makes some folks intimidated is the intimation that what some of these students are doing is normal HS work, that any child with the right curriculum, focus, dedication etc. could do the same - that all should strive for a similar level of excellence. 

 

I wouldn't expect someone else's child to flawlessly execute a triple pirouette on pointe. My dd spends 30+ hours a week working on that stuff. High school academics are just a means to an end for her. She needs a high school academic program that is relevant to her strengths and weaknesses. Homeschooling is a way for her to have a meaningful education and not go insane trying to keep up. And that's great. 

 

Also, some of us just need to post more about alternative HS paths and our experience with courses and curricula (mea culpa). For example, Derek Owens physics is hard for my 9th grader. It's a hard course. It's much harder than the 9th grade physics course at the elite boarding school where I live. Yet, when researching on this board, I never got an appreciation of the difficulty of the course. It seem to be portrayed as an average course. It's not. I should chime in on the physics threads and say that, but..... it's sometimes hard to be the one that says, "well, my kid did not breeze through this." It's silly and perhaps a failing on my part, but I don't always want to talk about the things my kid struggles with. It's so much easier to talk about successes.

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My DD is intelligent, we'll have a few APs and dual enrollment under our belts, and a more than respectable GPA when she graduates, but she wants to be a farmer and tells me every day she sees no point in all this Latin because she could be a farmer with just a high school diploma and basic English. DS is the same deal academically, but is the most unenthusiastic kid I have ever me when it comes to academics. My kids seem to have no appreciation for math, great literature, or the typical academic stuff, even though I try to instill a love of learning in them. I think their lack of enthusiasm will pull them down, and I am sad that I hustle so hard to give them something they see no value in. Sigh.

 

I know several farmers. I think she is underestimating the need for serious, age-old wisdom, incredibly quick critical thinking skills, financial know how that involves very strong algebra skills, and physics (for figuring out, intuitively, which tractor to use when) and biology (for deciding whether to use garlic or pull a cow off the line and use antibiotics), and so on.

 

Also... she may not be aware of this but, while you don't need a degree, many farmers do hold advanced degrees in agriculture. The best farmer I know has a HS degree.

 

When she's out there on the front lines with a storm coming and a power line out and needing to supervise a mechanic, an accountant (possibly her spouse), a veterinarian, and perhaps even do some child care, she'll be singing a different tune. A farmer is a CEO of the most integrated kind of company you can have.

 

Some of the smartest people in the country are farmers. I really do believe that. She WILL thank you when she's older.

 

Not to mention, someone has to educate her kids... even if they go to public school, how will she help them?

 

And you know what? Some of the most financially well-off, respectable, contributing people I know have a HS degree and that's it. Worked their way up in the military or as mechanics or farmers or even--GASP--caring for others. :)

 

My kids are little so who knows what will happen. But they certainly aren't profoundly gifted. I take great comfort in knowing that the most well-off people I know--solid, meaningful careers that make them enough to live comfortably-- didn't do well in HS, but had a passion and strong work ethic. No APs. No SATs. Went to state school or CC off the bat.

 

I don't know anyone who did Eagle Scout who later ended up in his parents' basement. Really. That is a huge accomplishment.

 

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I have a student who just turned 12 who is self-teaching AoPS Algebra and doing a pretty good job, at that. 

 

I also have a 14 year old who is struggling through Foerster's Algebra with my help at elbow, and we just hired a math tutor for him, as well.  He will almost certainly be repeating Algebra 1 next fall. 

 

I have it all here. 

 

Ruth, you are delightful.  Please do not change a thing.

 

ETA:  Both of the above students are doing their best.

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I think it is difficult to ask questions about a bright child and not come across (to some)  as if you are bragging.  Sometimes you have to preface a question with ... dd is bright, she can probably handle this but I have questions?  Also, when members ask about AP courses, National Merit, etc. it is because we are seeking information to help our gifted children....just like I have sought information to help my child who struggles academically.  It isn't necessarily intended to be bragging.  I have one struggling child, one bright child, one average child, and one yet-to-be-determined.  They are each full of potential in their own way. 

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 I think that is really the key. Just to make sure that discussions of high school work for advanced students are explicit about the advanced nature of the student. I think what makes some folks intimidated is the intimation that what some of these students are doing is normal HS work, that any child with the right curriculum, focus, dedication etc. could do the same - that all should strive for a similar level of excellence.

 

This I can do.  Thanks!

 

Ruth in NZ

 

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hepatica said:

 I think that is really the key. Just to make sure that discussions of high school work for advanced students are explicit about the advanced nature of the student. I think what makes some folks intimidated is the intimation that what some of these students are doing is normal HS work, that any child with the right curriculum, focus, dedication etc. could do the same - that all should strive for a similar level of excellence.

 

 

 

I wonder if some people are truly oblivious to the fact that their kids are gifted, or perhaps they are so insecure in their own homeschooling that the only way they can feel comfortable keeping their kids out of school is if they demand the very highest possible level of work (or at least more than they think the "competition" is doing). 

 

ETA: Trying (unsuccessfully it seems) to fix quote attribution.

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I don't think there is any problem with sharing the wonderful things advanced kids are doing. The issue that sometimes arises is the judgmental tone that is taken (not by you Ruth) in reference to so many typical homeschool curriculums that average kids do well with. I don't see a problem with warning parents that a course of study will not prepare a student for admissions at an elite college, but that doesn't mean it isn't an acceptable high school level curriculum. Most kids obviously aren't preparing for admissions at elite colleges. I think many who are lose sight of the reality of preparing for a CC or State University admissions, and even more so from the reality of not even trying to prepare kids for college - that typically gets very harsh judgement here. 

 

My kids are gifted, but not geniuses. They are going to college, but not elite colleges. The programs we use may be too challenging for some and not challenging enough for others. I try to share what I know about the level and quality of the programs I have used or investigated so people can make their own choices. The problem is, I think too many feel condemned if they admit their less than prestigious plans. 

 

The cure in my mind is two-fold. First, more people with average kids need to have the nerve to post. Second those with gifted kids need to not judge. Most wouldn't, but some do and occasionally scathingly. 

 

Those with gifted kids do not need to post less, brag less, talk less about their kids, their curriculum, their accomplishments, or their challenges. Making the boards unfriendly to top students does not make them a better place for anyone.  

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My kids are super star awesome! ;) They just aren't all academic and even the ones that are academic had areas in which they struggle or struggled.

 

They only need one area in which to shine, to be fine, upstanding citizens who love and support their families. Just sayin'.

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I don't think there is any problem with sharing the wonderful things advanced kids are doing. The issue that sometimes arises is the judgmental tone that is taken (not by you Ruth) in reference to so many typical homeschool curriculums that average kids do well with. I don't see a problem with warning parents that a course of study will not prepare a student for admissions at an elite college, but that doesn't mean it isn't an acceptable high school level curriculum. Most kids obviously aren't preparing for admissions at elite colleges. I think many who are lose sight of the reality of preparing for a CC or State University admissions, and even more so from the reality of not even trying to prepare kids for college - that typically gets very harsh judgement here. 

 

My kids are gifted, but not geniuses. They are going to college, but not elite colleges. The programs we use may be too challenging for some and not challenging enough for others. I try to share what I know about the level and quality of the programs I have used or investigated so people can make their own choices. The problem is, I think too many feel condemned if they admit their less than prestigious plans. 

 

The cure in my mind is two-fold. First, more people with average kids need to have the nerve to post. Second those with gifted kids need to not judge. Most wouldn't, but some do and occasionally scathingly. 

 

Those with gifted kids do not need to post less, brag less, talk less about their kids, their curriculum, their accomplishments, or their challenges. Making the boards unfriendly to top students does not make them a better place for anyone.  

 

 

 

And anytime you ask any advice on a board you also need to sift through it to see what truly applies to you.  Just like you wouldn't switch what you are doing for your average child so that it matches the curriculum of someone who is learning disabled, you also shouldn't feel compelled to switch it to match a gifted child.  I have had to learn this lesson over and over again.  I find that much of what I am doing with dd simply isn't going to apply to child #2, he cannot work at that level and that is ok. 

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Well I'm going to wade in and ask what I'm hoping others are also asking: how should those of us with super-star students post here without making others feel badly? I only now have a 9th grader so have only dabbled on this board; I generally stay on the accelerated board. But I am somewhat dismayed by some of the comments here knowing that I need to spend more time on the high school board and knowing that I don't want to make anyone feel badly. Any suggestions?

 

Ruth in NZ

Since this is my thread, I'll respond, even though I think it's pretty much been covered by others.

 

I stated it up thread, but I just want to reiterate that I really enjoy reading everyone's superstar kids' accomplishments! I think it's great when kids reach higher and grab the stars! I absolutely, unequivocally, do NOT want gifted/accelerated/advanced kid-parents to stop posting! I'm sincerely sorry if this thread makes you feel that you should, because that absolutely was not my intention.

 

That said, it does get frustrating when the superstar parents denigrate curriculum choices that work well for average kids (Saxon, Apologia, Notgrass, etc.) or act aghast when we choose to put things on the transcripts like drivers ed, home ec, metalworking, or auto shop, or don't understand how it is possible that our kids will have no APs, no dual credit, or nothing beyond algebra. I think many superstar parents don't realize what a rarity they are. Most kids aren't superstar. Most kids graduate high school, but most people don't graduate college.

 

Well, I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room and Good Morning America is distracting me, so I'm sure this is disjointed and rambling, and I better stop before I stop making sense all together. (LOL)

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That said, it does get frustrating when the superstar parents denigrate curriculum choices that work well for average kids (Saxon, Apologia, Notgrass, etc.) or act aghast when we choose to put things on the transcripts like drivers ed, home ec, metalworking, or auto shop, or don't understand how it is possible that our kids will have no APs, no dual credit, or nothing beyond algebra. I think many superstar parents don't realize what a rarity they are. Most kids aren't superstar. Most kids graduate high school, but most people don't graduate college.

 

 

I am well past teaching high school at this point but when I was in the thick of it one thing that would almost make me roll my eyes out of my head was having a self-appointed authority pronounce that one could NOT give credit for x or y, or that a,b,c curriculum could NOT be used for high school credit as if (as if!) they had any say in the decision whatsoever. Sorry, but you are just a nameless and faceless voice on the internet and your edicts are irrelevant. Discussions of the weaknesses and limitations or various curricular materials is useful. Ex cathedra pronouncements are not.
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Since this is my thread, I'll respond, even though I think it's pretty much been covered by others.

 

I stated it up thread, but I just want to reiterate that I really enjoy reading everyone's superstar kids' accomplishments! I think it's great when kids reach higher and grab the stars! I absolutely, unequivocally, do NOT want gifted/accelerated/advanced kid-parents to stop posting! I'm sincerely sorry if this thread makes you feel that you should, because that absolutely was not my intention.

 

That said, it does get frustrating when the superstar parents denigrate curriculum choices that work well for average kids (Saxon, Apologia, Notgrass, etc.) or act aghast when we choose to put things on the transcripts like drivers ed, home ec, metalworking, or auto shop, or don't understand how it is possible that our kids will have no APs, no dual credit, or nothing beyond algebra. I think many superstar parents don't realize what a rarity they are. Most kids aren't superstar. Most kids graduate high school, but most people don't graduate college.

 

Well, I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room and Good Morning America is distracting me, so I'm sure this is disjointed and rambling, and I better stop before I stop making sense all together. (LOL)

 

I just want to say, the reaction to drivers ed from my side was not one of "this is not academic enough". Just, to me it is like getting a food handling license or CPR certification--a rite of passage and nothing to do with school.

 

It's not that it's not smart enough or academic enough. It is just not in my realm of "this is something that appears as a high school class on a transcript". It's certainly harder than P.E. which does go on a transcript. Some of these expectations are more cultural than achievement-based.

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I just want to say, the reaction to drivers ed from my side was not one of "this is not academic enough". Just, to me it is like getting a food handling license or CPR certification--a rite of passage and nothing to do with school.

 

It's not that it's not smart enough or academic enough. It is just not in my realm of "this is something that appears as a high school class on a transcript". It's certainly harder than P.E. which does go on a transcript. Some of these expectations are more cultural than achievement-based.

And in many cases, people respond according to what their state board of education allows as credit just in terms of general graduation requirements and what CC's, trade schools, and four year institutions expect to see or are willing to count. In Michigan, driver's ed is not offered through the school and is not available for credit so to include it on a transcript is a no no and especially so if 18-20 credits was not achieved without it. But, that's because it is Michigan, and that is how it is done here. Other states could be entirely different.

 

As for Home Economics? My dd, who some have probably considered a superstar student, had that on her transcript. She did 12 units covering a lot of material over the course of a year. My mom graduated from high school with four years of home economics that included dress pattern making, catering, introductory architecture, etc. I think that sometimes, yes, people can be quick to write off some non-traditional coursework, but the main thing is if what is described contained enough material and work to constitute credit. Michigan as well as other states also have guidelines for that as well so many times posters are advising based on the guidelines of their school district or state.

 

Yes, definitely cultural quirks figure into the equation as well.

 

To be honest, auto shop here, as well as welding are for credit. We have a tech center that students are eligible to attend beginning the junior year that has a huge variety of coursework, auto mechanics, restaurant management, cosmetology, agricultural science, forensics and criminal justice, welding (introductory and advanced), construction, electronics and electrical journeyman studies, nursing, medical terminology, and medical technology, etc. all of the students earn credit for passing these courses. But, they are regulated so that they meet a minimum standard of study, minimum number of class hours, etc. and are not merely a few seminars or a few overview type lectures like one might get say through community education enrichment classes. They are more than enrichment or hobby type courses if that makes sense.

 

I am sorry to any of you if we've have made it sound like none of these would count. The key is how much coursework is involved or depth. Enrichment classes tend to be 1-2 hrs. per week for only six weeks and are super general and without course evaluation. For credit course work means weekly with more hours, and for at least a full semester and some method of evaluation.

 

Now that said, if some sort of medical licensing is involved, often times it is best to notate that not so much for credit, but as part of the additional information given because frankly, many medical licensing exams or say a contractor's licensing exam, mechanical licensing exam, etc. are a LOT tougher than exams that most regular high schoolers take and indicate a higher level of achievement. One doesn't want to undersell EMT licensing, or contracting, or electrical journeyman or a practical nursing license because those are college level/post high school level achievements! Do not under package that.

 

I also think it is really hard to determine "average". Sometimes I think some parents under estimate their child's level of achievement quantifying it by grades or test scores only. So what if your youngster doesn't apply to a top 50 school or take a bunch of AP's, or whatever. To be honest, in looking at what constitutes "superstar" locally, it's not grand. If your child is coming out of school with diligence in basic core and learned from that even if the grades are low but hard earned, if your student has matured and learned a lot about him or herself, if your student has developed interests and passions, if your student has been challenged at whatever level is appropriate for him or her, your student has come farther than 50% of the local high school graduates. There has been so much dumbing down of the educational process, focus on test prep, and exponential meaningless busy work in my district that even the "top" kids, the big scorers, are immature, clueless often times, have not a single inkling what they want to be when they grow up, are interested in nothing except possibly sports and this is a class D school so NOBODY is getting a sports scholarship, and move along a little like zombies for four years. A few, a very few, come out of it okay and ready to move on, but in just a huge number of cases, high school has been academically and emotionally just an extension of middle school without much personal growth.

 

I think what I see here on the board which is just so heartening is that most of the students regardless of whether or not your student has LD"s or medical issues and really struggles, or falls in the middle, or is on the high end, experience tremendous personal growth through your process of homeschooling for high school and that is PRICELESS! You just can't quantify that by something measly like credit and GPA or Test Scores.

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And in many cases, people respond according to what their state board of education allows as credit just in terms of general graduation requirements and what CC's, trade schools, and four year institutions expect to see or are willing to count. In Michigan, driver's ed is not offered through the school and is not available for credit so to include it on a transcript is a no no and especially so if 18-20 credits was not achieved without it. But, that's because it is Michigan, and that is how it is done here. Other states could be entirely different.

 

[snip]

 

I think what I see here on the board which is just so heartening is that most of the students regardless of whether or not your student has LD"s or medical issues and really struggles, or falls in the middle, or is on the high end, experience tremendous personal growth through your process of homeschooling for high school and that is PRICELESS! You just can't quantify that by something measly like credit and GPA or Test Scores.

 

We've now homeschooled in three different states, as well as two countries as military stationed overseas.  The requirements for homeschooling is very different from place to place, and even from time to time.  It can be easy to see what is required and what is commonly done where you live and conclude that this is the way is must be done.  In California, I saw the added quirk of having multiple education pathways described as homeschooling, even though they had very different requirements.  

 

I do think that it can be tough for a homeschooler to know what average is.  I don't hang out at a bus stop with other moms.  My kids don't really talk about academics at scouts or sports.  Our coop had kids all over the board, but it was still only a small slice of kids.  I get some inkling with test scores, but even that can be tough to parse (ie, scores that one family would consider over the moon great would be cause for another family to investigate test prep - depending on the college goals and academic background).

 

There was a post a while back that made me dig into the averages for SAT scores.  The average annual scores hover around 500 for each section.  I think that is important to keep in mind.  And depending on the circles you run in (in real life or online) it can be hard to remember.  [i have seen some parents in another venue complain that their kid only got 750 on a science SAT Subject test and ask if they have to retake it.  It may be of major importance for some college applications, but I wonder if they lose the sense of how well their kid is doing.]

 

I think that where I've seen people get most worked up here is in describing what will position kids to be competitive for highly selective colleges.  There is a fair quantity of snake oil sold in the homeschool world, that suggests that homeschooling alone with set your kid up for Harvard.  There are homeschool college advisers, who seem to think that what worked for their kid will work for any kid.  And I've heard some really bad and incorrect information given out by some of these homeschool "professionals."  Similarly, I run into people who think that ROTC is a good Plan B for college, not realizing how competitive the scholarships have grown.  I have some personal insight into this, so those are conversations I will jump into.  These competitive programs and schools do have certain things they are looking for, and even then it's something of a lottery because there are so many qualified students.

 

That is not the same as saying that a kid who goes to the state university is a less valuable person or will have a less satisfying or useful life.  It's not the same as saying that the kid who graduates from high school and goes into work is a less valuable person who will have a less satisfying or useful life.  

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FaithManor's good post brings up the old -- ("old" throughout the history of education, I mean) -- battle over how to define "a good education".  The assorted interpretations of "classical education" are far from being the only combatants.  If I may generalize, around WTM, "academics" appear to be considered intrinsically more valuable than the "coarser" (not my belief, btw) subjects of drafting, auto mechanics, home economics, and so forth.  The "outside world" also struggles with the same questions of value.  "School-to-work" movements disdain the fine arts, grabbing more and more of the limited funding, thus driving these priceless (definitely my opinion) subjects from the curriculum.

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I think a lot of it has to do with pressure on us as homeschool moms, and it can be exacerbated by the local academic scene as well as online or reading magazines.  People here push their kids really, really hard.  If you don't live here, then I can't even begin to explain it. I'm pretty sure I live in the most parent and kid obsessive-about-achieving area of the US.

 

That has some benefits.  But there are also drawbacks.

 

We have chosen to pursue the exact same course we would, no matter where we lived.  Our son will probably have to work harder, to achieve better grades in community college, otherwise he won't be able to transfer into his major.  But I will not push CLEP, Dual Enrollment, SAT factory Prep centers, SAT2 Subject tests, Saturday Test Prep school, or super early community college (I can see maybe one year, but we planned to do that anyway before we moved here.)...If my kids come to me and ask for any of that, then I will certainly guide them.  I think my son is super smart and he definitely has a hobby where he is way way ahead of 99% of people his age, which will someday be a great career.  But he is a normal kid with normal grades, normal setbacks, who would rather pursue said hobby (programming) than be perfect at anything.  He will be 8th grade next year.  

 

My dd isn't anywhere near high school but I have a feeling she won't be a "super start" student either.  She does well at everything she does. She works hard at most things.  She is very clever at math, and very quick at it.  She does well but not amazing in her piano, well but not amazing in swimming, well but not amazing in her schoolwork.  She wants to be a chef.  She dreams of being a chef and tells everyone she wants to go to chef school.  She is amazing at cooking, for her age.  :o)

 

 

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This is a great thread.  My daughter is smart, but she would much rather be riding her horses than doing any school.  She thought about vet school, as all horse mad girls seem to do, but decided that was entirely too much school and not much a life.  When would she ride?

 

 She has no idea what she wants to do, but has finally realised that there is no money in horses and she would be working very hard and be very poor, which is not in the grand plan.  So, now she is exploring careers which would allow her to make enough money to support the horse habit.  Of course the career has to allow her time to ride, for heaven's sake.

 

So far, no success in finding such a wonderful career.  LOL  Any ideas????

 

 

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She thought about vet school, as all horse mad girls seem to do, but decided that was entirely too much school and not much a life. When would she ride?

College equestrian team? My kids had a good time riding ponies at Stanford's Red Barn during Stanford's open house for children a few years back.

http://web.stanford.edu/group/set/cgi-bin/wordpress/

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That said, it does get frustrating when the superstar parents denigrate curriculum choices that work well for average kids (Saxon, Apologia, Notgrass, etc.) or act aghast when we choose to put things on the transcripts like drivers ed, home ec, metalworking, or auto shop, or don't understand how it is possible that our kids will have no APs, no dual credit, or nothing beyond algebra. I think many superstar parents don't realize what a rarity they are.

To be fair though, this really goes both ways. I wish I had a dollar for every time I read a post that said that a first grader might be able to "read" adult fiction but he won't actually comprehend the true intent of the author. Or that say, an 8 year old, is too young to fully understand the abstract concepts behind advanced math. Or the (always judgmental) "early college might be fine for some but we prefer to let our child be a child".

 

It's hard to remember that your experience with your child is not everyone else's experience. And we all have different definitions of the common terms used. Some consider an advanced math student to be a 7th grader taking algebra. Others would call it advanced if the child was taking calculus. Some call sounding out the words of a Bob book to be reading, others call it reading when the child can get through a chapter book.

 

We all need to realize that some kids will struggle through pre-algebra in the 8th grade and some of the same age will excel in a college calculus class. Putting that struggling child in a college class would be asinine, just as much as expecting the other child to be content with spending a year in a prealgebra class.

 

(hope your hospital trip was not too serious!)

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(hope your hospital trip was not too serious!)

 

(Oh, no worries.  Just the usual semi-weekly therapy appointments for my son with special needs.)

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Again, speaking in generalities, my perception over many years has been that many parents over-inflate the abilities of their child(ren) and misuse the term "gifted." This thread is refreshing in its acknowledgement that most children fall under the dome of the bell curve -- and their parents have no gripe with that.

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Sort of off topic, but just to throw out there, my 8th grade, ps,  advanced-class niece asked us the other day if the President (Obama, etc.) is over all the states or just ours. This may make you feel better or worse, depending on how you think about it. 

 

Edited to add, 8th grade is in the high school here.

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This is a great thread.  My daughter is smart, but she would much rather be riding her horses than doing any school.  She thought about vet school, as all horse mad girls seem to do, but decided that was entirely too much school and not much a life.  When would she ride?

 

 She has no idea what she wants to do, but has finally realised that there is no money in horses and she would be working very hard and be very poor, which is not in the grand plan.  So, now she is exploring careers which would allow her to make enough money to support the horse habit.  Of course the career has to allow her time to ride, for heaven's sake.

 

So far, no success in finding such a wonderful career.  LOL  Any ideas????

 

Real estate seems to be the career for people-people who have hobbies, are intelligent but not academically obsessive, who want to make money and work hard but who don't want to live their entire career.

 

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I wonder also about accounting. I know a number of accountants in the area who manage to work only say 25 hours per week, carefully picking their clients, so that they make a comfortable living and have time for travel or hobbies. It seems like even if one worked really long hours during tax season that this is balance out at other times. For sure, if one season had a lot more income than the others, the key would be to budget properly for the slow season, and it could be regional. I just know that in our areas, several acquaintances that are accountants have rather flexible schedules and some times when work weeks are short yet only a short period when they are really burning the midnight oil and that seems to be from January trough May though certainly if they do books for businesses that get extensions, it goes into the summer, the difference being that most of the other clients are already taken care of by then.

 

Might be a good option.

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Ok, I don't know if I should really stick my neck out here, but personally when I hear "average" homeschool high schooler (hs/hs) I get nervous.

 

IRL, there are two main types of hs/hs that I've run across. They both start off strong in elementary with "hitting the books" and "enrichment" but by 9th they've petered out. One group eventually looks at their teen and says "why don't you just go take the GED and get a job (and some money to move out)." The other group sneers at the mention of GED's, diplomas, or transcripts, "We don't need any of that junk!" and expects their child to simply have their goals handed to them on a golden platter.

 

(Deleted)

 

I'm not saying any of you on this thread hold either of those philosophies, but there is a strong anti-intellectual thread in American society, and when it converges with homeschooling, especially for the high school years, it ain't pretty.

 

There are two things that I think allow this anti-intellectualism to bloom in homeschooling circles.

 

1) The idea that hs'ing itself makes kids smarter. After hearing how dumb ps kids are, it's a nasty shock to get to college and seeing some of those "dumb" kids running intellectual circles around you. And I find it more than ironic that for all the complaints hs'ers make about ps being "dumbed down" there's a willingness to accept course loads and curriculum and that is itself lighter than ps curriculum. Which leads me to....

 

2) The propensity for homeschoolers to just uncritically pick the most popular curriculum. Because if everyone is using it it must be great, right? I see this on some of the hs'ing FB pages I'm on. Someone will ask, "What curriculum do you all use for x?" and the curriculum with the most mentions wins. It's bizarre. At a hs conference last summer I went to a "teaching gifted kids" session where the presenter completely shocked everyone by saying that Apologia was light, and if your gifted student wanted to go into science you should probably find something more challenging. The gasps were audible and I could see many were nearly shocked out of their seats. I mean EVERY science vendor in the hall was selling Apologia (except RS4K, of course), so that HAD to mean it was the BEST, right????

 

In general I thoroughly appreciate the members here who are willing to critique curriculum, even if it's popular. And who take meeting graduation requirements and transcripts seriously. That doesn't mean I think ever hs/hs needs to be using college textbooks for every subject and winning national competitions and etc. But having experienced the other extreme, I am very grateful for the testimonies of these "superstar" hs/hs. In the end everything averages out, and with the superstars being the superstars, even the perfectly average will end up being boosted up a few notches. Otherwise, we'll just have a culture of mediocrity.

 

I don't know if I expressed all of that as clearly as it is in my own mind....sorry.

 

 

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Sarah, your post is fine.

 

A very diverse population posts at WTM. Very diverse. When I post a generalization, I label it as such, and I count on other readers to see a "fit" or not see a "fit", according to theor own judgements.

 

I shall not question your personal experience. In response, though, in real life, I never have met or been told of a single person or homeschooling family to whom any portion of your post applies. I have been homeschooling for twenty years. You are right for your experience, I am right for my experience, and I can't speak accurately for the rest of the world.

 

I enjoyed your post for the thought-provoking elements. Thanks!

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I'll take the hint and stay off the high school board.

 

I'm sorry if you feel that way. You've made a lot of good contributions here.

 

I think the advice to share a bit about your kid when explaining your choices or asking for advice is all that is needed. As in: "XYZ works great (or would ABC work) for my gifted/dyslexic/average/dinosaur-obsessed kid" (choose your best descriptors) is the best.

 

The way some people are ready to pounce on other people's choices as pure junk or too light or not worthy of a classical education or even a high school credit is not great. People should be thoughtful about what they are using, but not dogmatic or judgmental.

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My younger brother struggled from kinder to AA to bachelors but he did it. It was extra tough for him surround by cousins and me who are great test takers. All I could do was be encouraging in the whole journey.

 

Sometimes I just don't know where to post what I would like to post.

 

I end up with the disclaimer that it's just my opinion. I don't get the impression from your other post that you said DO was a breeze for your child. Now my older thinks he wants me to buy kinetic physics for his fun.

He is strong-willed, intense, opinionated, hard to please self directed learner :lol: so whatever works for him may not work for anyone else.

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I'll take the hint and stay off the high school board. Although I am very sure I mentioned that it was my personal choice to do what I did with that course and also that it was a hard course in terms of executive function required. Did not mean to reflect that mine breezed through it. I'm sorry if I hurt any feelings. Sometimes I just don't know where to post what I would like to post.

 

 

Not sure what hint you are taking from me since I am not hinting at all??? In fact, I do not know what you did with that course. I read as many threads on it as I could before I purchased it, and my perception reflects the views of a number of posters, and no one in particular. 

 

Feeling unsure about posting is not exclusive to the parents of the gifted. Lots of people feel unsure for lots of reasons. I don't think any of us get some special universe for discussion where nothing we say will ever cause any cognitive dissonance. 

 

It's fine to post about what kids who are advanced academically are doing. I'm not sure it's wise to expect that such discussion will not cause some discomfort among those whose children are struggling or less advanced or have passions other than academic, or simply have not yet found their groove. We all seem to play lip service to the idea that all gifts and talents are of equal worth, but the reality is that there are social, emotional, professional and financial benefits to high academic success. Some gifts and talents are more highly valued in our society than others. That's not to say that is a good thing (I,for one think it is not), but it is a reality. So, if parents of kids who are not academic stars are feeling a bit uncomfortable it may be because they recognize a certain reality. Attending an elite university opens doors to a level of comfort and security that the vast majority of humans on this planet will never experience. The incredible squeezing of the middle class and the vast and growing inequality in the distribution of wealth around the world means that even attending an average state university or community college and earning a decent degree, and then finding gainful employment is no longer any sort of assurance that you can live life without having to worry about overdrawing your account each month, or paying for medical care or aging parents or disabled children. 

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I know the feeling. Perhaps somewhere in cyberspace there's an island for misfit posts that don't seem to have a place anywhere....

 

I have many slightly irrelevant observations to share.
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To be fair though, this really goes both ways. I wish I had a dollar for every time I read a post that said that a first grader might be able to "read" adult fiction but he won't actually comprehend the true intent of the author. Or that say, an 8 year old, is too young to fully understand the abstract concepts behind advanced math.

Honestly, I think that if you have a student of this caliber, and if you don't want to hear these types of responses, then your questions belong on the Accelerated board. 

 

I may be alone in this opinion, I don't know, but there are literally hundreds of readers who never chime in and may go away thinking that their wonderful (often firstborn) can do these things.  I don't post on the younger boards, but if I notice such a post here, I will still always post comments about how learning earlier doesn't mean learning better.  I have had a child who learned things "too early" by memorization, and a child who was in accelerated math by 8th grade through our University (with some classmates who were far younger), and I have tutored hundreds of students through Kumon, so I feel comfortable posting my observations about the problems with learning very young.

 

All the while, I realize there is that one-in-a-million kid who asks questions with a vocabulary that even adults can't approach and that child's needs must be met, as well.  But my heart goes out to the hundreds who will be misdirected.  Perhaps if, as others have said, you clearly mark your post -- but it would have to be marked in such a way that every proud parent won't think their child applies, because believe me they will if the door is open even a crack.  Perhaps use specific examples of the child's statements or something that truly sets them apart from all of our smart kiddos?   

 

I still lean towards the Accelerated board for an 8 year old doing advanced math or a 1st grader reading adult literature.  I know you won't get as many responses, but you won't get the responses you don't like, either.

 

Julie

 

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Honestly, I think that if you have a student of this caliber, and if you don't want to hear these types of responses, then your questions belong on the Accelerated board. 

 

I may be alone in this opinion, I don't know, but there are literally hundreds of readers who never chime in and may go away thinking that their wonderful (often firstborn) can do these things.  I don't post on the younger boards, but if I notice such a post here, I will still always post comments about how learning earlier doesn't mean learning better.  I have had a child who learned things "too early" by memorization, and a child who was in accelerated math by 8th grade through our University (with some classmates who were far younger), and I have tutored hundreds of students through Kumon, so I feel comfortable posting my observations about the problems with learning very young.

 

All the while, I realize there is that one-in-a-million kid who asks questions with a vocabulary that even adults can't approach and that child's needs must be met, as well.  But my heart goes out to the hundreds who will be misdirected.  Perhaps if, as others have said, you clearly mark your post -- but it would have to be marked in such a way that every proud parent won't think their child applies, because believe me they will if the door is open even a crack.  Perhaps use specific examples of the child's statements or something that truly sets them apart from all of our smart kiddos?   

 

I still lean towards the Accelerated board for an 8 year old doing advanced math or a 1st grader reading adult literature.  I know you won't get as many responses, but you won't get the responses you don't like, either.

 

Julie

 

 

When my eldest son was younger I would sometimes comment upon his work level because

 

1. I had no idea what was normal so I didn't know he was *that* far off plumb, and

2. I had no idea I should censor myself lest other parents compare their kids.

 

To say parents should add all these disclaimers and keep to the accelerated boards lest some other random parent hold their kid to the standard of a stranger's kid on the internet, is, IMO, not realistic or fair. Most of us didn't even really start to understand our kid's profound giftedness until he got a little older and we stumbled upon research while searching for resources. We didn't set out to intimidate anyone or cause them to turn and mistreat their own child; we just chimed in on the "what is your child reading" threads like innocent people.

 

I learned not to talk about these things from people who didn't believe me, not from people who said, "Well, I tried to force my 4yo to read the unabridged Winnie the Pooh like your kid and he couldn't. Does he need remediation or something?" I also learned not to post from people who told me that my son was probably just memorizing and not actually reading/calculating/understanding. But until I got a little battle-scarred by those experiences I was, honest to God, just another homeschooling mom talking about her kid's day.

 

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So much to think about...

 

I'm not sure where we fall on the superstar spectrum (it's all relative), but I will say this thread has given me lots to think about. I appreciate the different viewpoints. Life's messy.  I do think that giving a little background information is a good idea for parents of students of all abilities, for many reasons. 

 

Context is important. It seems to me it would be a benefit to both the poster and the reader alike.

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I probably don't know how to self censor (although believe me I try!). I have one kid and one experience and try to qualify that and also include a siggy so people will see it and make their own conclusions (I hope not hurtful ones though, but I can't control that). I do enjoy posting on the accelerated board and mostly try to stay there but sometimes that post might not catch the eye of veteran moms and dads who come here more frequently. I really value the suggestions of these more experienced parents. I know it might not make sense to most but the way I was parented, we never prefaced our words verbal or written with "I'm dealing with an advanced kid" or "my son is profoundly gifted". It just wasn't done. You mostly hide accomplishments and just eavesdrop and try to filter that and use it as you will. I sometimes feel the need to fight that upbringing and be more upfront. But am not an expert at that either. I also don't know where I fit in...accelerated board definitely but I also have college-related questions. And I worry always about being judged as the tiger mom. I can't blame you guys for these worries...these are my own and my responsibility to deal with. But it's really lonely sometimes. How do I post questions without being judged that I'm either padding what we did or I am bragging or judging others' path?

 

Thinking aloud mostly. Sorry for the hijack. I'll try to keep my words more direct and less meandering about what he has done. I have friends with 2e kids too and I can see their struggles. I'm learning and hope you can be patient with me.

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I don't think the OP was complaining about parents of accelerated kids sharing their curricula and experiences.

 

She was just wondering if they were representative of the people on this board, or if there were other parents of more typically-developing children on this board whose voices weren't being heard, simply because it's awkward to post at in each thread, "No, my kid can't do that."

 

People who have special needs at either end are more likely to post questions because their needs are not met by typical advice.

 

Her reaching out to her own tribe does not invalidate the questions of those who have accelerated children and personally I think it's a little defensive to suggest that.

 

I mean if you have a gifted kid, that's great. You have a whole board for questions related to that side of your child, and then the rest of the boards to chat about other things like curriculum in general.

 

There is no board that says, "typically developing" so sometimes it is hard to sort out what's "normal" and what's not.

 

ETA: Sometimes I wonder if we are the only family without special food needs. Then I remember that most kids who come to our house have no allergies. But so much of the food discussion revolves around that, because it's hard, that it's easy to forget that we truly are typical. If I ask people, "Does anyone else not have allergies?" it does not mean I don't care about your food problems or that I don't want to hear it. It means that I am wondering how normal I really am. Feel free to continue asking how to cook with almond flour. I won't take it personally! :)

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