A gifted individual is a quick and clever thinker, who is able to deal with complex matters. Autonomous, curious and passionate. A sensitive and emotionally rich person, living intensely. He or she enjoys being creative. -definition of giftedness written by the Netherlands Study on Giftedness in Adults

Friday, September 6, 2013

Our First Day of School

The way we homeschool, the First Day of School really doesn't mean anything. It's some arbitrary day, set amongst many other similar days, in which you feel with some confidence that we have moved beyond that to this. It's not even grade-level marked, because grade-level means nothing in homeschooling. But it does mark a freshness, a newness that kids all over the world recognize. Except we don't go school shopping and don't have to take insane amounts of school supplies to drop off with the teacher. Instead, we buy books and online course registrations.

I think I've said before that we don't really take summers off, because the teenlet needs to continue learning. Boredom, according to professionals who have worked with him, is his greatest enemy. But this year, the teenlet wasn't completely on board with not getting a summer break. After all, his friends were available more frequently, and he wanted to be available when they were. This is a teenage characteristic, a sign of growth and maturation - the increasing importance of friends over family - and I want to support that maturation, even though they only play video games and that drives me crazy, especially on a nice summer day. It's the common bond they have; I don't want to break it.

So we made a deal - as he finished an online course, we would not start a new one to replace it, with the exception of the Coursera course he wanted to take that went through June and July. This was an experiment for us - this gradual lessening of coursework. And he never really got to zero.

Our experiment was a success. Granted, we had a rather amazing summer, with lots of visitors (international, and more local), with camps, and our family vacation to Alaska. So we didn't have very many days when something unique wasn't happening. He did not have a lot of opportunities for boredom.

And that made for an almost-real "first day of school" this week. I say almost, because he hasn't exactly finished Trigonometry - he still needs to take the final. And he started a new course through Coursera last week, and another new one this week. He will start Calculus later this month, and physics will start in October. Writing will come, too, when I figure out how I want to approach it. So I guess we're on a rolling start.

When most people ask what grade he's in, I say, "Chronologically, he's in 8th grade." Most people don't pursue it further, and that's fine with me. I don't really know how to explain why he's so far advanced in his courses without seeing "that look" in their eyes - that look that says they think I'm either making it up or completely delusional about his ability. So we just stick with 8th grade.

So, I guess you can say that we have moved beyond 7th grade, and entered into 8th. But that isn't really descriptive of anything in his case, except a number that only relates to how long he has spent on this earth and nothing about his experience or what he has learned.


  1. We say 4th grade. Even he has deliberately asked me to never discuss anything having to do with learning or academics because of "that look." It is nice to hear of someone speak of it, instead of just completely ignoring the fact we don't fit in anywhere at homeschool group.

  2. I've often thought that homeschooling is the way to go, though I don't know if my husband will agree. That would require me to be a SAHM for more than the first year, which we argued and finally agreed upon. My husband doesn't like the stress of being the sole financial support for a wife and child.

    1. Aleta, I suggest picking up a little book written by Pamela Price and published by the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, called, "How to Work and Homeschool."