When we first started homeschooling, my older daughter was 3 1/2. I knew then she was advanced - the primary reason we decided to homeschool instead of sending her to preschool was that she already knew everything the preschool was teaching their kindergarteners. We took homeschooling one year at a time, figuring it would be clear, year by year, what was best for our daughter. But I didn't realize then what is quickly being brought home to me now: that a child who's ready for first grade at 3 1/2 will likely be ready for middle school work by about 10, and for high school work by 7th grade.
Now that said daughter would be in sixth grade (yikes! high school work next year?!), we're beginning to face the question of what we should do about high school. And it's a tough one. I don't so much struggle with the academics of high school - I figure I'm smart enough to learn any high-school-level subject if I want to put the work in, and if I don't, I can find a self-teaching curriculum and/or someone to tutor her, or she can take a class at the local school. But she's amazingly talented musically; she's been playing the flute for a year (no lessons, just homeschool band), and is easily playing second/third year music. Does she need a "real" high school music program if she's going to be ready for college music? And are there other things about high school that would benefit her? And would they benefit her even if she's on the young side for high school - next year, for example, or the year after?
An article in today's Fort Wayne Journal Gazette online is helping me think about this. It's called "Colleges Embrace Home-School Students," and the first anecdote is about a young lady who was accepted at Indiana University-Purdue University as a piano performance major. There's much more, of course, including some fascinating information about how colleges in Indiana are actively seeking out homeschooled high schoolers. The most helpful paragraph, for most homeschoolers, is this one:
"We love having home-schooled students because we find that they are prepared for college,” says Allison Carnahan, Indiana Tech’s vice president of enrollment management. “They are used to being independent and are very eager for the campus experience. Often, they have done career exploration more than a private- or public-schooled student. They tend to know their majors pretty quickly.”
So - "real school" high school, or homeschool high school for our daughter? That remains to be seen. It's nice to know at least that colleges these days don't think homeschooling is a disadvantage.