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Advanced Student Grade Placement


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#1 Melissa G

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 11:42 AM

I am beginning homeschooling next school year with a kindergartener and a seventh grader.  My seventh grader belongs in a higher grade.  He needs a challenge, which is one of the reasons we have decided to homeschool. 

 

Problem:  How do I evaluate this?  How do I prove to any nosy busybodies (i.e., the state) that he belongs in a higher grade level?  Most importantly, how do I transition the child?  How do I document any high school level courses that he completes now?

 

I am thinking that over the course of the summer and school year, I can have him through 7th and 8th grade and be ready to start high school for the 2015-2016 school year.  In reality, he is already ready for high school and some college level, according to me, his public school teachers, and standardized testing.  I just do not want to traumatize the boy.  I want him to be a child.  He has done college level work for years as I was in college and he worked alongside me during a lot of my studying. 

 

 

Thanks,

Melissa G.

 



#2 Dianna

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 06:43 PM

Hi Melissa,

 

In my opinion, I think that you should focus on providing more indepth learning experiences for him rather than advancing grade levels. As homeschoolers, you have the flexibility to teach him at his level, wherever it is. If he really wants to graduate early and go to college early, then you can, of course, have him take the SAT or ACT and talk to the colleges about him enrolling at a younger-than-typical age. But if it were my child, and I wanted him to be a child (as you stated above), I would use this time to provide all the fun and indepth learning experiences as possible while he's still at home. 

 

Learning is a journey, not a race, and college is a totally different social scene. Over my 20+ years of homeschooling, all of the parents and students I've known personally (public, private, and homeschool) who've graduated and entered college early have regretted it. I'm sure there are others who didn't/don't regret it, but I don't know them personally.

 

You don't have to prove to anyone (nosy neighbors or school officials or other parents or whomever....) how smart your son is, so the pressure is off. I wouldn't even worry about credits until high school. If he takes Algebra 2 or Calculus or Spanish 3 in the 9th grade, and higher level maths and Spanish each year after that, list those courses on his transcript. College admission officials will know he had Algebra 1, Spanish 1 and 2, etc., before that. You don't have to list tons of credits on a transcript to prove your son is smart - his SAT/ACT scores, foreign language college placement exams, and interviews will establish that, without making it seem that your son was so focused on academics that there was nothing else in his life. (If that makes sense.)

 

If he decides to enter college at a younger grade, then it would be best to talk to any colleges he's interested in to see what their requirements are for younger students, etc. Then you'd have to list courses/credits, etc., on his transcript to show that he's met their requirements. But if he decides to enter college with his age-mates, then the pressure is off, and he's free to learn at will. You can worry about paperwork and documenting coursework when he enters 9th grade.

 

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

 

Warmly,

Dianna


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#3 Dana

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 10:45 AM


In my opinion, I think that you should focus on providing more indepth learning experiences for him rather than advancing grade levels. As homeschoolers, you have the flexibility to teach him at his level, wherever it is. If he really wants to graduate early and go to college early, then you can, of course, have him take the SAT or ACT and talk to the colleges about him enrolling at a younger-than-typical age. But if it were my child, and I wanted him to be a child (as you stated above), I would use this time to provide all the fun and indepth learning experiences as possible while he's still at home. 

 

I strongly agree with this.

 

I'm not advancing my son rapidly through grade levels.

He's starting 7th grade next year and I'm deciding whether I'll count algebra as a high school credit, but I'm leaning towards not. It'll go on his hs transcript as courses taken before hs, but I don't expect I'll give a grade.

 

There's SO MUCH available, we're not going to run out of material.

Midlands Tech doesn't want students under 16 in classes. I might be able to swing it earlier but I think USC would be more likely for dual enrollment. But that's really expensive as well. MIT Open Courses and Coesura are possibilities.

 

If he pushes to go to college early, you can always accelerate. It's tougher to drop back grades though.

You may want to do some reading on the Well Trained Mind forums Accelerated Board as well.

But unless your son is racing forward, dragging you behind, I wouldn't try to get him in high school early.

 

You probably will want him to participate in talent searches... Duke TIP, NUMATS, and CTY are all programs that are available. USC has a PUPS program for kids in TIP.

 

Start slow.


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#4 ShadanJem

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 08:38 AM

 

Learning is a journey, not a race, and college is a totally different social scene. Over my 20+ years of homeschooling, all of the parents and students I've known personally (public, private, and homeschool) who've graduated and entered college early have regretted it. I'm sure there are others who didn't/don't regret it, but I don't know them personally.

 Okay - I'll throw in my hat here.  I'm one of those who did start early, at 15.  Texas Academy of Math and Sciences at University of North Texas.  Benefit - there were 2 years of students there, 200 Jr and 200 Sr living in a dorm, so I wasn't totally with just 18 year olds in class.  Graduated "high school" with 77 semester hours, and no high school classes for Jr and Sr year (all college, and not easy ones).  B.S. at 19, M.S. from U of Michigan with DOE Fellowship paying for grad school at 21.  Imagine being in grad school, and your class mates having to make sure wherever they were going that you were able to actually get in!  If I went, they had to chose carefully.  Worked as Radiological Engineer at SRS at 21.  

 

Do I regret it - NO!  Because the school district I was in didn't allow me to advance.  In 10th grade I had finished their math department.  They wouldn't let me dual enroll.  Freshman and Sophomore English were a repeat of the same books I had read in middle school in Michigan (military dad so we moved).  

 

And yet....I do NOT want my kids to go off early.  Eldest will go off a few months before he turns 18 (current plan - rising 9th now).  He will probably dual enroll some classes his last 3 semesters after he turns 16.  But that will be to allow him to have more free and fun time in college.  I never took fun classes.  I never explored other options.  I want them to experience a little more of life than I had the opportunity to do.  So, fun jobs, summer camps, internships, volunteer work, teaching at the karate dojo (which he loves).  I did raise him up to 8th this year, but with an end of Sept b-day it wasn't a big deal.  In Ohio where he was born he would be finishing 8th this year.

 

I debated doing the TIPS program with DS, and then didn't.  I was too frustrated with the smart kid labels as a child that I guess I veered the other direction!


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#5 kohlby

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:52 AM

For now, think about the depth he needs.  You're switching over to homeschooling so it's good to not have the added pressure of doing two years in one.  If your child is highly motivated and decides that he wants to accelerate years, then figure it out after you've been doing it for a while.  Another possibility is doing high school in three years.  Since high school is done by credits and classes, you won't need to do two years in one.  But he can do a higher course load - and still do that extra depth.  Since you're switching over to homeschooling at 7th, that will give you two years to let him explore and get the hang of things being different.  Also, you can do some high school credit classes, even if he's an 8th grader.  That being said, some high school credit classes may not matter for your child.  My eldest took Algebra I in 4th grade.  (And did a curriculum with the most depth of all I could find). As a result, we will likely not be putting that on his high school transcript. 

I did decide to accelerate my eldest by a year.  However, we've been homeschooling from the start and it's obvious that he's ready.  We decided to "skip" 6th grade in name - but he was already leaps and bounds ahead of that.  I likely won't skip him two grades in name though, since there's a lot more to grades numbers than academic readiness.

 

I'm not sure if you've looked into curriculums yet, but I strongly recommend Art of Problem Solving for math.  For Language Arts, Michael Clay Thompson is excellent for advanced kids.  We don't use the extra literature unit with that, but will be adding in Excellence in Literature instead this year.  (Prior to that, he just read books on his reading level).  Excellence in Literature has both honors and regular and has 5 courses/years-worth. 

 

It's also important to consider your child's future plans.  If you want to raise the chance of your child being a National Merit Finalist, then not skipping ahead will help.  If your child wants to go to the Governor's School for 11/12, then I wouldn't skip more than a year.  Even with college, I'd consider looking around you to see what there is - as it's much different taking college classes and living away from you taking college classes.  Our local tech college has a pre-engineering dual-enrollement course that looks like it would be a good fit for my eldest, so that's another possible option for him.  That will allow him to take college classes while still in high school.  (And college classes on a high enough level.  For example, an advanced math student should not be taking College Algebra with the goal of getting college credit.  An advanced math student should start college math courses in nothing lower than Calculus I).  So, even if he doesn't skip ahead or not by much, both dual enrollement and the governor's schools are a way to take college classes while still in high school.

 


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#6 Melissa G

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 11:57 AM

Thank you all for your input and advice.  You all make some great points.  We are planning some awesome learning adventures for the next school year.  I will consider all of your information as I work with Christian before making any hasty decisions.  You are a wonderful group!  Thanks again.


Edited by Melissa G, 23 May 2014 - 11:57 AM.