I never thought this would happen. After all our careful planning and scheduling, thinking we were rocking our schedule all along and now I realize that we have a high achiever in our family. Do you have one, too? You may be wondering what to do with your high achiever. I know I was … but we put a series of steps in motion and now our high achiever has a purpose and we have a Game Plan, a Set Up, and a Slam Dunk. Check out our High Achiever Series over the next few days and make a plan for your own!
For us, I think Lauren’s high achieving came early on. It was a gradual process and one that we just took in stride. She and James are three years apart. When James was in first grade, Lauren was four years old. She wanted to do “school” also, so she would take pencil and paper and copy words out of her books. She had no idea what she was doing, what the letters were, or what sounds they made, but she was putting things together pretty quickly. We would sit down and go over what she did. Nothing formal. Nothing complicated. I would praise her for her accomplishment, point out the letters and some of their sounds and we’d move on. It’d take abou5 five minutes. Seriously.
She listened all the time, to everything. When James was learning Greek and we were going over the Greek alphabet, she would chime in and say she wanted to read. I said, “Great! Let’s learn the letters and their sounds first.” But I already know my letters she replied, “Alpha, beta, gamma, delta…” With large brown eyes staring straight at me, serious as could be…Yes, a high achiever indeed! She was four years old.
Time progressed in our schooling. She would finish her “age appropriate” courses and would be bored. B.O.R.E.D. So, as an experiment, as soon as James finished a course, I would give it to her the next year. In 7th grade she was completing freshman material that James had finished. And it’s not that she just finished it, she understood it, could talk about it, and really felt challenged. If she’s not challenged, she’s bored. In 8th grade I reviewed a history curriculum written for 8th graders. She breezed through it in a matter of a few months. It should have lasted an entire year.
And reading? She reads all the time! All. The. Time. I can’t keep her in books because she reads them so fast. She’ll pick an author and read through his material. Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, JRR Tolkein, Brian Jacques – these are just a few of her favorite authors. You name it, she’s probably read it.
Is your child the same way? Here are a few suggestions for how to keep educating your high achiever:
- Don’t stifle your child’s learning. Roll with it.
- If material is finished, give her something a bit harder. When that’s finished, keep feeding her with more learning.
- Challenge him. Keep him on his toes so that he doesn’t get bored. Add additional material to learn or material that takes him to that next level. If he excels at writing the normal 5-paragraph essay, introduce him to research papers. If she loves math, skip pre-Alegbra and head straight into Algebra.
- It’s okay to “skip” material if it’s not advanced enough for your child. The beauty of homeschooling is that you know your child best.
- Know when to take it down a notch, too. If Lauren’s not getting something, we take a break from it for a week or two and then go back to it. Sometimes her brain just needs to wrap itself around a new concept or idea. That’s OK. Really.
Fast forward and now Lauren is 15, age-wise a freshman in high school, but in reality she will completing all her high school requirements by next May at 16 years old.
If you find yourself in this same situation, you may be wondering what to do next. Check out the next phase in this series with The Game Plan.