“How?”

One question Madison and I get asked a lot in regard to her radical acceleration is “how?” And it’s not an easy question to answer.

When she was younger and she would talk like an adult with an expansive vocabulary it was easier to explain by simply saying, “She thinks differently and reads a lot.”

The question has come up a lot more recently. When she was accepted to TCU we knew we were going to have to move to be closer. So all of our neighbors or anyone for that matter would ask us why we moved from a very nice suburb to Fort Worth. It didn’t make sense. So I would have to explain that we needed to move closer because I had to drive Madison to school since she’s not of driving age. Or when the Optometrist asks what grade are you in?

The reactions are usually the same. First confusion, then disbelief, then the question “How?”

We usually start off by explaining that she was homeschooled. But that doesn’t really explain it in itself. It allowed her to move at the pace she did. And yes, a lot of homeschoolers graduate with an Associate’s Degree along with their High School Diploma and some with a 4.0 and two levels of Honors, just not at the age of 13.

So then we get to the difficult/uncomfortable part. Then comes the Doogie Howser and Sheldon references. Depending on who it is I’m talking to and the amount of time I have I’ll sometimes just laugh and say yeah and move on. Madison doesn’t get those references when telling peers, they just flat out don’t believe her. When she’s either had someone vouch for her or she’s shown them her state ID the reference of genius comes up. As it does for me after the references to TV show characters.

This makes both of us uncomfortable. I’ve always made it a point to tell her she’s not a genius. We can joke about that. To me you are only a genius if you do something phenomenal that goes down in history. Someone isn’t just a genius. It has to be earned.

This is when I have to explain that she loves to learn. She engulfs learning like a sham wow absorbs water. lol

She also can master concepts and remember information after hearing or reading it once whereas it usually takes others on average 2-3 times. And she retains it forever. So I explain she has a great memory as well.

We usually try to keep her age to ourselves. She looks older than she is so it makes it easier for her. The only time I will outright say anything is if I hear someone bragging about their IQ. This is usually online. Nothing bothers me more. It’a just a number. Madison will never know what her IQ is unless she tests herself as an adult and that’s her choice. It’s also my choice not to tell her. Her psychologist that tested her made it very clear that it would be detrimental for her know and I agree 100%. I’ve always told Madison a number doesn’t mean anything, it’s what you do in life that does.

Madison is self-driven. She always has and always will be. She has made the decision in each step of her academic career.

So I hope this explains a little bit about the “How.” The next question I get is “Why.” But I’ll save that for another blog post. 🙂

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