Homeschooling a child who is ahead can present its own set of challenges. How do you decide that your child is ahead? Do you skip a grade in certain subjects? Do you wait for test results? How do you technically move your child ahead of his/her grade level?
Homeschooling A Child Who Is Ahead: 5 Rules:
1. First of all, understand why do you feel the need to move your child ahead. Ideally, you have to have one of the following two reasons: the child tested way ahead or the child completed the grade material early. We homeschool through the summer and frequently are able to cover an entire grade level during that time. By the time fall rolls in, a few of my children are ahead of their grade levels. Furthermore, they show that they are ahead on standardized tests they take. Personal vanity is not a good reason to accelerate the child academically and skipping a grade entirely is rarely a great idea, as it can result in educational gaps you’d later need to cover.
2. Keep in mind that your child can be a few years ahead in certain subjects, while being behind in others. Homeschooling allows us the freedom to tailor the curriculum to the child and not vice-versa. One of my kids is doing 8-th grade algebra, 8-th grade science and only 5-th grade writing, and it’s ok.
3. Separate school time into blocks. Once your child is working a few years ahead of the schedule, the work load increases, while the child’s maturity level probably doesn’t. At seven years old, school used to take an hour and half. The child studies through the summer, runs through a few grade levels quickly and now school at home takes four hours a day, while the child can’t sit still this long. With my eldest son, we separated school time into two blocks of two hours each day, because sitting still for four hour and doing work, which demands high concentration is hard for him. The actual work he can handle, the sitting still for hours is another story.
4. Move as many subjects as possible into an independent study mode. This way it won’t feel like “more school” for the child. Instead of studying history and science together, tell the child to read some books, encyclopedias and textbooks on these subjects and write reports on what he read.
5. Have a plan. See the big picture. If the child is able to work 3-4 grades ahead, don’t forget why are you doing this. Research higher education; research advanced academic programs, research colleges and online courses early, so that when the child graduates earlier than their peers, there is a strong plan to be discussed with that child.
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