Raising Madison has been a trip. She’s a trip. There’s no other way to explain it really.
In a nutshell, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed to homeschool her. I had no idea what she could accomplish was even possible and I second guessed myself a lot along the way. I stayed up at night worrying and even woke up in sweats from fear of making the wrong choice.
Faith. Having faith is what got us to where we are today. Faith in Madison and in myself. It was actually easier to have faith in her than it was to have it in myself.
I chose the picture of her on her first day of Second grade. This was our first year of homeschooling. She hated public school. I will always regret making her go. She went for two years and begged and cried all through First grade begging me to homeschool her. We had her tested and advocated to no avail, so I agreed. She joined Mensa at the age of 6 in hopes of finding connections and for me to find support. I did a lot of research and found really good groups online to help.
I started this blog to document our journey and I am SO glad I did. When we started out I told her that she could go as slow as she wanted and could have a ton of free time or as fast as she wanted. She chose fast. She hasn’t deviated from that at all.
I learned very quickly that Madison only has to learn something once and she’s got it. She doesn’t need to review. Unless it’s Math. That’s a different story. That was a hard concept for me to grasp. That it was possible for someone to be able to do that.
I was questioned pretty hard by my family when we made this choice, so at the end of Second grade, I tested her with the Iowa Basic Skills Test for Second grade. That was a joke, she maxed the entire thing out. So, at the beginning of Third grade I gave her the Fourth grade Iowa. Again, maxed it out. I waited until the end of Fourth grade and gave her the Seventh grade Iowa. She didn’t max it out, but she passed with flying colors. At that point I decided we were good and I didn’t need to test her again and I haven’t. Family was appeased. I was freaked out.
We utilized advance curriculum for awhile and did all the hands on homeschooling events we could. The science museum, orchestra, art museum, etc. She had a blast, but they got repetitive after awhile. During this time, I really had to learn to trust her. I would have to ask her what she already knew, because she didn’t want to waste time relearning it. It was a very scary time for me. I just had to pray I was doing the right thing. During this time I also let her choose what she wanted to learn.
Our paths connected with a group of people who who had PG children (profundity gifted.) They spoke of the Davidson Young Scholar Program and how much support it provided. I had just had Madison retested through our psychologist for a neurological evaluation and she qualified for this program, but I was intimidated for applying for some reason. I was already overwhelmed and it seemed like extra work, but with encouragement, I did. Thank God I did.
When Madison was accepted, the doors started opening. It was like the clouds parted for the sun to shine through.
I knew that there would be a point when I could no longer teach Madison. Ha! That statement isn’t really true, let me rephrase that. I knew there would come a time when Madison wouldn’t be able to solely teach herself. 😉 I was waiting to sign her up for online courses until that time, because they were expensive.
That time came sooner than we expected just because she needed the social interaction of like peers. The Davidson Academy has accredited online classes. We signed her up and she LOVED it. We also signed her up for courses through Athena’s Advanced Academy. She loved those too. She did online chess lessons with the same peers and suddenly everything came full circle. She was having friends she knew from different areas of learning that were part of other areas. She became super excited. And this summer she got to meet them in person. ❤️💕
It works so much better for us when she has a teacher and a classroom, even if it’s online. I’m not a teacher, I never was, and I never will be. LOL. I’m ok with that. I am a facilitator for Madison’s education. That’s always been my role and will continue to be.
She wants to go to college when she’s 12. That’s been her goal from day one. We have her enrolled in the Duke Tip 7th grade talent program and she’s scheduled to take the ACT next year. We did a practice test without prep and she did very well.
Her goal is to start dual credit classes online through the community college. That’s her goal. So, if she can pass the ACT so I have some scores to take to them that either they’ll accept or will convince them to let her take the TSI then I think we have a path laid out. She’s a pro at online classes already. She sets the goals and I do the advocating and try to figure out how to make them work. The age requirement for dual credit classes is 14. Thus, the need to advocate.
I can’t think about it too much or it blows my mind and I stress out and worry. She’s always been the one telling me that it’s ok.
Now, as far as childhood is concerned. I have heard more times than not, just let them be a kid. Well, I have learned along the way that there are different definitions of that. I am doing what makes Madison happy. Her path isn’t robbing her of being a kid. If I made her do what society defines as being a kid, she’d be miserable. We tried not doing much academically. “Taking a break.” It’s just not who she is.
And my definition of what a childhood is is not hers. So when I mourn the ‘loss’ of her not being a kid, I’m just mourning something she doesn’t fit into. That’s not something to mourn. It’s something to embrace and be proud of, because it’s who she is and it’s what makes her happy. And don’t get me wrong, that kid still can’t go outside with getting muddy from head to toe, every.single.time. She’s definitely a kid. But she also enjoys putting together complex LEGO kits while listening to audio books in her free time or writing books. She’s totally self driven and it’s almost impossible to make her do anything she doesn’t want to do.
I don’t have a handbook. There isn’t one for kids like this. All I have is the wisdom of those that have gone down this path before me and the peers that I learn from everyday that are figuring out the same path. I take their experience and keep it close to my heart. We are making it up as we go. And we are finally at the point where her goals that she set from the beginning are in sight.
This article made me feel much better.
When you have a child like this you have to trust them. Figure out how to provide what they need to accomplish their goals. Always follow their lead. And don’t think about it too much. Just understand it’s your reality and accept it. Even if it freaks you out. ❤️ Love then for who they are and support them 100%. Listen to them.
When we started Third grade, Madison refused to hold a First Day of School sign that had a grade. 😉 Maybe she will in 2019-2020. LOl.