Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Grade Are We In?

I recently learned that, by U.S. standards (we're in Central America), my son should have been in 2nd grade. He had already done 3 months of third grade in a Waldorf school when we started homeschooling last April, so we mostly kept working at a 3rd. grade level.

At the school, where he did K-2 and started 3rd, classes were mostly taught in Spanish. He was reading English at a low 2nd grade level and writing at a 1st grade level, basically sounding out the words and writing them as he would in Spanish - a language that is, for the most part, written as it sounds.

So, I decided to stick to 3rd grade Math, Science and Spanish - but look for 2nd grade curriculum for English. Then I realized that he was more at a 4th grade level in Math. His English progressed so quickly that we're flying through the 2nd grade stuff. And, to top it all off, a teacher recently told me that I was pushing middle school content on him in our Unit Studies. Apparently, learning so much detail about the Solar System is "too much" for an eight year old - even though he loves it.

So, what grade are we in?
1st grade phonics
2nd grade grammar
3rd grade science
3rd and 4th grade math
5th grade geography
6th grade unit studies

I still haven't done the Can he read 120 words per minute test to figure out where he is in his reading, and I'm not going to.

That's the great thing about it.
We work at his level on each subject.

I'm recording everything we do in case we ever need to "show our work". Now that I know that if we were in the U.S. my son would be just now starting the 3rd grade, I think we'll stick to that on our records. We'll have done 18 months of "3rd grade" and that's just fine by me. After all, the "standard" stuff only takes up a fraction of our learning time, which is ALL THE TIME!

He's ready for things that most kids don't get until high school, if ever, unless they have really cool parents. He's ready to talk about real-world issues. I hate the idea that kids should live in fantasy la-la land bubble until they're a certain age. We talk about anything and everything that comes up: sexuality, war, third-world politics, corruption, racism, climate change, poverty and the global economy. We analyze music and movies that are not "age appropriate", and he gets them.

This post is more of a reminder to myself (and you, if you need it), when I get caught up in what we're "supposed" to be doing - grades and standards - to stay clear on why we homeschool:
critical thinking
finding passion

Thanks to M and J in a Nutshell and Through the Wardrobe for being sources of inspiration, especially when I need to remember that I want to do this creatively and outside of the lines. I'm getting there, slowly but surely!

1 comment:

  1. are so welcome! :) Thank you for always sharing so much creativity and joy - you inspire me too! :)

    You just stated pretty much my favorite things about homeschooling - I meet my son where HE is, not where some organization or bureaucrat thinks he should be. LOVE IT!