Asynchronous kids are awesome, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them or for their families to find ways to fit in.
Today I’d like to talk about what has been working for us.
1 – Homeschool
We did the public school thing for a couple years, even though it wasn’t a great fit. It was still a safe place for J to interact with other kids and to have a break from his twin sisters’ screaming fits. (His sisters are great, but there are two of them, and they have pretty much always been loud – at home, at least.)
When he came up with algebra on his own when he was five, we took a deep breath and started sending math notes in his lunch box.
When he memorized the periodic table at six, and started showing unhealthy signs of stress, we did the paperwork for him to homeschool.
(Here he just learned about Mendeleev, and was thinking about alternate arrangements for the periodic table. At 6. You can’t make this stuff up.)
It’s been wonderful. He loves it. I can work with him on his writing, which is developmentally normal (7), provide math a few grade levels ahead, let him read his college-level chemistry books and spend hours immersing himself in that, and still have time for some motor skills practice and play – which he needs. He’s 7.
Some people advocate for grade skipping, and that works for some kids in some situations, but homeschool was the right choice for us. For now, at least.
2 – Mixed Age Groups
Asynchronous kids tend to struggle with same-aged peer groups, simply because there is an unwritten expectation that they will all be the same, so my 7yo who can’t yet ride a bike but would like to talk about double land-locked countries in Europe stands out.
In mixed age groups, that expectation is minimized. He can help younger kids, who expect him to be academically further along, or chat with older kids, who can keep up mentally but don’t expect him to be physically or emotionally a peer.
A few friends and I created a really sweet homeschool coop this year. Some kids can read, some are too young or are on their way. Some are neurotypical, and others have various disabilities, but our goal has been to encourage healthy interactions and to give the kids chances to share their own voices. It’s been good.
3 – A Relaxed Pace
I’m in no way implying that J has a relaxed pace when it comes to what he wants to learn. No, he actually devours new knowledge, and we have to slow him down, or he will go into overdrive and have trouble self-regulating.
What I mean is that, because of his personality and learning style, we don’t push lots of formalized curricula. Instead, we explore together, focus on doing a few things well, and maybe add one challenging or not-self-motivated item at a time. He’ll get there.
4 – Bibliotherapy
We read lots of books around here, and I’m always on the hunt for books that feature quirky main characters who don’t always fit in but are still loved and appreciated by those around them.
I’ll post about these tomorrow. 🙂