The following is a post from Kirsten Joy Torrado.
Just yesterday I asked my son, “If someone asked you what grade you are in, what would you tell them?” I was curious.
“Ummm. Probably third?”
His reply came more like a question instead of an answer.
“Why?” he asked. Now he was curious.
“Oh, no reason. It doesn’t really matter anymore anyway,” was my reply. And at that, his whole face lit up, he slapped me a high five, and walked away.
And that was that.
Keeping Track of Grade Levels
We stopped keeping track of grade levels a little while back when I realized that my son’s reading level was already several grades beyond the average. This, coupled with a younger brother that was ready to start kindergarten practically reading already, well…let’s just say we’re a little outside of the grade level box.
We decided to homeschool year-round, and when you do, it’s a little hard to tell when one year ends and the next one starts. Sometimes we finish one subject before another one so we just start on the next level.
It’s like that with Spelling and Phonics. By this summer, my seven year old will be half-way through his second grade spelling book.
And for math? Let’s just say that I question what is in most standards-based math curricula to begin with and I wonder if the content they require is developmentally appropriate.
According to state standards my boys might be incredibly delayed in their computational skills. But according to their development, they are right on par.
Who gets to decide that my 7 year old should be doing double-digit addition and subtraction with regrouping anyway? We choose to focus on math concepts that can be done in hands-on ways and tend to relax on the computational stuff until they’re ready.
Some people say it’s a little radical.
I call it real life. The way real learning should be. So to tell you the truth, I’m not sure what grade level my kids are in anymore either. But, they do love to learn.
Following a Child’s Passions
My boys are passionate about dinosaurs, archeology, and ancient Greek myths. Who knows why! But that has completely wrecked whatever ambitions I had for following a grade level history and science curriculum.
But, you know what? I’m completely okay with that because I’d rather follow their hearts.
They’re enjoying an education that’s custom made for them based on the things they love. What kid in school can say that?
I only really relaxed into the idea of letting grade levels go after coming to the realization that my children will never fit back into a typical school setting. They would be completely bored. I’ve come to find out that children who learn at their own pace are ravenous to know and it’s really hard to stop that runaway train.
I used to try and keep all their core subjects on grade level for the sheer comfort of a safety net. What if two years from now I decide that I want my time back to myself and I just can’t do it all anymore?
Seeing their joy for learning has helped me to cut the strings on that fear and let it go. I guess we’ll just have to figure it out because my kids are home to stay.
And I’m alright with that.