College versus Kindergarten and Radical Acceleration

When Madison started community college I had a fear she wouldn’t like it. I knew it was the right choice, but I was still concerned. She hated Kindergarten and First grade. When she started homeschooling in Second grade we did a lot of hands on learning through field trips and travel. Up until two years ago, she really focused on what interested her. We skipped a lot of what she didn’t care about.

So, will a child that had all of that freedom be able to go from a fun and unstructured learning environment be able to go to sitting in a 90 minute lecture setting twice a week? Learning by reading out of a textbook again? (It’s been 5 years since she’s had to do that.) And the hands on learning is now projects that are papers and presentations? Will she be able to handle taking tests? She’s never really had one in an academic setting.

Fortunately the answer is yes. 🙌

Not only is she getting A’s on her tests and projects, she’s loving the class. And this class is a requirement. It’s not that much fun. It’s basically learning how to be a college student.

So how can she adapt so well? I pondered that very question. Then while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed I saw a post about how homework in elementary school should be banned. And then it hit me.

In elementary she had homework. She had homework in kindergarten. Oh how I wish I could turn back the clock and just write NO on all of those worksheets. Madison hated them. Not only did she not get much time to play in kinder, she couldn’t when she got home because she had worksheets to do. It made both of us want to scream. It was insane. First grade didn’t have as much homework, but the amount of worksheets done in school was insane.

This picture doesn’t even really show the volume very well.

She hated school because of these worksheets. They were boring and mundane. They ripped the love of learning out, crumpled it into a ball, and tossed it in the trash can.

Madison loves her college professor. Thank goodness!!! She looks forward to each class. The only homework she has is reading the textbook, 3 projects, and studying for 4 tests. There isn’t any mundane work or fluff. She actually enjoys it because of that.

And the biggest reason she’s thriving in a college setting versus public school at her chronological age?

She’s not being taught to a test.

What she’s learning has meaning.

She doesn’t have to do a bunch of repetitious fluff.

I am glad we took the route we did. If I had to do it all over again the only difference would be not sending her to public school to begin with. Or to pull her when we both had the gut feeling this wasn’t a good thing and not caring what anyone else thought.

Madison has poured hours into her projects. She received a 95% on her first one and learned from that and received 100% on the second. She received a 95% on her first test and we’ll see what she gets on the next one.

If you would have told me that she could be where she is and doing what she’s doing by learning hands on without tests and basically focusing on what she wanted to learn, I would have thought you were crazy.

I thought others that told me this was an actual thing were crazy. LOL

I questioned myself and woke up in hot sweats the first couple of years in total fear I was going to ruin her education.

I spent countless hours trying to mix things up for her so she wouldn’t get bored.

I spent a lot of money on curriculum that she never used because she jumped past it. She already knew it.

I would freak out when she seemed to be at a standstill and wasn’t progressing. I would think OMG we need to work harder and do more. She’d push back. And then bam, she’d make another jump and everything became obsolete.

Homeschooling Madison was actually a surreal experience. I wish I would have recorded her standstill and jumps better. I couldn’t ever really pinpoint them. I just knew when they happened shortly after they did.

We had to push through a lot of anxiety along the way as well. We had to put her out of her comfort zone in regard to time. She doesn’t do anything very quickly and did not work well with deadlines. But she has managed to figure out how to deal with both of those. I think it’s taken a lot of communication to teach her how to prioritize, how to work ahead to ensure she can spend the amount of time she would like on things. This year she’s learning how to push through doing things she isn’t really interested in with some other classes because they are required for her high school transcript.

I am glad I researched, kept an open mind and didn’t look at everything as black and white, trusted God, Madison and myself. And most of all for being flexible. Having to adjust constantly. I am a planner and I think that was the hardest part of this entire journey. Being flexible and readjusting. I look back on my posts and every single one of them was this is what we are doing….and it changed a lot. Sometimes with each post. I tried saying, this is what we are going to be doing…..and it rarely ended up being what I thought it would be. We both grew a lot during this process.

So college has ended up being a much better experience than kindergarten. If we had gone through the public education system at a normal rate it wouldn’t have been. Madison would have been completely burnt out. The love of learning would have been completely sucked out of her.

And she has found friends. They are nowhere near her age, but that doesn’t matter. I am so, so grateful that she has friends in her class that do not judge her and like to talk to her. Her face lights up when she talks about it and when she is talking with them. This makes my mom heart so full.

Kudos to radical acceleration!

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