Can anyone talk me through radical acceleration? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-04-2011, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As a bit of background, my kids attend a part-time school that has all mixed-age classrooms. Also, I always feel kind of funny posting in this forum because none of my kids have been tested, though the "gifted" word gets used about them frequently and there's no denying that they learn faster than average. The school has a teacher/child ratio of about 1:8 and for most subjects they are allowed to work at their own rate (with the exception being math, but even there they can skip from one group to the next as appropriate which has been working well so far). My 7yo is in the 3-5th grade group this year. I just met with the director of the school yesterday and though this isn't written in stone, the current thinking is that she'll likely stay in the same group next year as an 8yo and then move to the middle school group as a 9yo. Stay there 2 years, then move to the high school group as an 11yo, and she'll be done with what the school has to offer at 13/14yo. The director mentioned we'd likely want to start DD in college at that point. I've always said our big challenge is keeping up with DD, but I hadn't really thought things through to this extent before, and my mind is spinning. I'd love to talk to people who have btdt. The school is small and every class is mixed age, but she would be the only kid accelerated to this degree. A few questions I have already are:

 

How does it work being exposed to things that come up in high school at such a young age? I know the school will do their best to let DD stay a kid as long as possible, but it's not going to be fair to the 17/18/19yo's in the high school classes to have to censor everything down to an 11yo level.

 

What do you do with a kid who is done with high school at 13/14yo? Do they go right to college? If so, do they live at home and go someplace local? FWIW, I do know the local university has a program for young college age kids. If they don't go to college until later, what do they do in the meantime?

 

Also, I'm guessing I'll be lucky to find people to discuss radical acceleration in general, but I'm hoping maybe someone out there has also been in our situation because we are talking about accelerating our 2nd daughter to this degree, and we have an older daughter also in the school. Our oldest works about 2-years ahead and will likely graduate when she is 16yo. If our younger DD is done at 13 she'll be a year ahead of her big sister. At 14yo they'd graduate the same year. I don't know how I feel about this. Anyone been in this situation before? If so, how did it work for you?

 

I don't really want to pull DD2 out of this school because they want to work with her and keep her challenged. Plus, I really think it's good for her to be with other kids (even though there really is no one her age that is "like" her), because social is where she really struggles, but can it really work the way we are envisioning? Can an 11yo really be happy in high school in a group setting, not homeschooled doing high school level work? And like I said, none of this is written in stone, we are planning on taking it year by year, but I'd still love to hear from others.

 

TIA for any advice!!

 

 


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#2 of 8 Old 03-04-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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I was homeschooled and then started college at 15, went to community college for my first 2 years among a wide range of age groups and kinds of people. I'd been reading books, watching tv and listening to radio all aimed at adults for quite a while. I found no problems with the material (could handle dark or controversial topics) or getting along with others, I mostly made friends with older women and some geeky and goth type 18-22 year olds. A couple of the teachers were problems for me, immature people going on power trips, I didn't know how to handle them or disassociate from that, but I guess going through gradeschool kids normally have the chance to learn to deal with that.

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#3 of 8 Old 03-04-2011, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Jamie! That's encouraging to me to hear that starting college at 15yo worked well for you. I think we're going to be in for an interesting ride with this whole school thing and DD2. :)


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#4 of 8 Old 03-04-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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We've homeschooled mostly, so a bit different.  However, our daughter did start half-time at a charter high school at age 10 turning 11.  She took classes with kids from ages 14-17, and a couple accelerated 13 year olds.  I don't think anyone censored their language, and I know we discussed how the f word could be used as so many parts of speech (and how inappropriate it was). LOL  The kids liked her, greeted her warmly, worked with her in groups, etc.  

 

The thing with acceleration.  Stuff is new at first, but sometimes they will still find that the pace is still too slow and there isn't enough depth.  
 

She could have easily finished high school at that school by 13/14.  For many kids, going to college at that age would be great.  We didn't think it would be for ours.  There is a local state university, but the huge size and sports/party/greek scene atmosphere are not a great fit for our girl - particularly as a young teen. She doesn't show signs of being ready to leave home any time soon (she's 12 now).  She also loves learning about everything.  She is no where near ready to pick a major or make life//career decisions.  So given that she found the classwork at the high school too tedious and repetitive, and we didn't want her graduating very early, we decided to go back to full-time homeschooling.  We seem to be settling into a nice mixture of online classes, self-designed studies and potentially next year, a dual enrollment class at the university.  She has tons of projects she wants to work on and homeschooling gives her time to do them.  We hope to keep her learning happily at home until near typical college age.  We track her credits, and she can go early if she feels ready.  

 

It sounds like you have found a wonderful school situation.  Will they allow her to work ahead with the older grades without officially changing her grade designation?  So she is in x grade on her paperwork, but subject accelerated to x+3 grade in most of her subjects?  That way if you decide that graduating early is a good solution once she is older, you could accelerate her then.  If you decide she is not yet ready for full-time college, perhaps you could homeschool the last couple years of high school with some dual enrollment at a CC or university?   We always look at keeping the right academic level but also keeping as many future options open as possible.  

 

Quote:

 

How does it work being exposed to things that come up in high school at such a young age? I know the school will do their best to let DD stay a kid as long as possible, but it's not going to be fair to the 17/18/19yo's in the high school classes to have to censor everything down to an 11yo level.

 

What do you do with a kid who is done with high school at 13/14yo? Do they go right to college? If so, do they live at home and go someplace local? FWIW, I do know the local university has a program for young college age kids. If they don't go to college until later, what do they do in the meantime?

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#5 of 8 Old 03-04-2011, 10:43 PM
 
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I was somewhat radically accelerated as a kid (two years ahead in elementary school, another year ahead in high school). My parents were overprotective and the first couple of years of high school were rough as a result. I could have fit in a little better if they'd allowed me a bit more freedom and responsibility, and I rebelled because they didn't. My final year was fine. I took a "gap year" after high school, playing in an orchestra, saving money for university, and taking a couple of college courses at my home-town university. The following year I went off to college full-time, living in residence. I was ready. I wanted the education. I had the maturity. It didn't feel like any big deal to be young compared to my classmates. I ended up changing majors from music to pre-med and then on to medical school, and "lost" a year as a result of that. I feel like the extra time my fast-tracking through primary and secondary school gave me was useful to me as a young adult. I was able to work, experience a couple of different career tracks, take my time settling on what I wanted to do. 

 

I have a just-turned-17-year-old who at age 7 was way, way ahead of the curve, similar to what you're describing in your child. We homeschooled, so we just kept things fluid not fussing about grade levels. When she entered school at 9th grade age she was easily capable of a full load of 12th grade courses. However, she chose to take courses part-time and just on an interest basis, instead devoting her time to her main passions in life: creative writing, music and travel. She backpacked through the third world for three months, she began travelling immense distances for choral music, violin lessons, music tours, all that. She's lived away from home for up to 10 days a month for music training. She does 24 - 42 hours a week practicing. She's held down two part-time jobs for much of this past couple of years. She undertook some major solo performances. She's now 11th grade age and is looking to move away from home on her own next year for more intense music training. She's waiting to audition for college music performance programs until next year because she wants the best shot at a full tuition scholarship at her school of choice. She has good pile of money in the bank. So she has amply filled the extra time that her academic fast-track allowed. 

 

I have a newly-8-year-old who is working at about a 6th grade level. I'm honestly not worried about the results of her fast-tracking at this point. So much can happen, so many interests and opportunties can arise, so much can change. It's possible she'll want to go off to college at 14, but it's also more than possible that she'll find other things to fill up her teen years. I think it's nice to have the freedom to delve deeply into something other than just school during adolesence. It helps you get a better sense of who you are, of the possibilities the world holds for you.

 

Miranda


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#6 of 8 Old 03-05-2011, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mom2ponygirl View Post

 

It sounds like you have found a wonderful school situation.  Will they allow her to work ahead with the older grades without officially changing her grade designation?  So she is in x grade on her paperwork, but subject accelerated to x+3 grade in most of her subjects?  That way if you decide that graduating early is a good solution once she is older, you could accelerate her then.  If you decide she is not yet ready for full-time college, perhaps you could homeschool the last couple years of high school with some dual enrollment at a CC or university?   We always look at keeping the right academic level but also keeping as many future options open as possible.  

 



Luckily the school they attend doesn't even really have grade designations, so even by moving her up a group or two she can still be whatever grade she wants to be, like we still call her a 2nd grader this year even though she's in the 3rd to 5th grade group. She also considered herself a 2nd grader last year. lol! For now we're just running with what she says and we'll reevaluate as we need to. And a lot of the kids from their school do a state program called Running Start which allows them to take college level classes their last two years in high school so that is definitely an option down the line. DD2 actually has Olympic aspirations so being able to homeschool college level classes during her teen years might just be the perfect thing for her. Though considering she's only 7yo, I won't be surprised if she gives up the sport she currently loves way before she's done with high school Thank you so much for the feedback. All these stories are so encouraging to me!

 

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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
It's possible she'll want to go off to college at 14, but it's also more than possible that she'll find other things to fill up her teen years. I think it's nice to have the freedom to delve deeply into something other than just school during adolesence. It helps you get a better sense of who you are, of the possibilities the world holds for you.

 

Miranda



Thanks, Miranda. I'm glad I'm not the only one who went through several majors in college before deciding what I wanted to do. lol!! At any rate, I loved hearing about your daughter and her music. My oldest has a talent in and a love of music that we'd love to encourage as she grows. And like I mentioned DD2 is a gymnast and at this point thinks she'd like try to be an elite someday. Part of the reason we sent our girls to this part-time school was to allow them to take the time to pursue their passions. I'm glad things are working out so well for your 17yo, and your 8yo too.


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#7 of 8 Old 03-05-2011, 06:00 PM
 
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It does sound like you are really lucky to have found a flexible situation where you have good options. It sounds like a great idea to just keep it loose and focus on what works for now and then change it up as needed down the road.

 

Like the other posters, we are homeschoolers so unfortunately my reply might not be the most helpful. Our son entered college a early though (basically by passing middle and high school). It has been a completely positive experience for him. I think it is really hard to guess with a seven year old if it will be a good fit down the road, but I think it is great that you are keeping your mind open to the idea if it does turn out to be the best option.

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#8 of 8 Old 03-08-2011, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Roar, thank you for your story. I agree that we are lucky. The teachers she has this year are encouraging, understanding (though they became even more understanding once they learned she was only 7yo at our parent teacher conference), and good at pushing her a bit and even better at following behind as she pushes herself. :) We were considering pulling her to full time homeschool starting next year, but after meeting with the director I think this could be an even better arrangement for DD . . . for now anyway. Like you said, it's hard to know where a 7yo is going to go as far as academics, but I'm really excited that they want to work with us. I'm also glad to hear things worked out well for your DS when he started college early! Hearing all these stories has allowed me to calm down and get back to taking it year by year. I had thought through having a 9yo in middle school, but I can't believe I never finished that train of thought and considered that we might have to think about college in her early teens. Now I've processed the possibility and am okay with it, she's likely to totally change her path and not even want to go until 18, which would be great too. :)


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