In the comments section yesterday Mariposa asked:
That is a difficult question and one we struggle with. What does Violet think?
Interesting question — she has been uncomfortable being with much-older kids in a class setting. Of course, she has been uncomfortable in just about every type of class setting! She is pretty torn herself between wanting to do interesting stuff with older kids and wanting to blend in with a group of kids her age. (Thus the homeschooling thing, right? Then she can do both.)
We also made up the term “ungrade,” which Violet liked because it was funny and hinted that we didn’t follow a traditional grade system, but it seemed to puzzle people and sometimes even turn them off! (Such is our family sense of “humor” . . . ) I think most homeschoolers understand that you just are where you are. Our co-op this fall organizes by age (3-5) (5-7) (8-10) etc., which works well for us, since Violet will be at the young end of her group. Also, the courses are things like Spanish, drama, art, science, etc., so grade level really isn’t a huge issue for us. (Science is an understudied area for us — hence the co-op!) If we had to put her in a math or English class I’d be totally stumped. (And thank goodness we are not doing the elementary version of “social studies”!)
Honestly when we do group activities it is primarily for the social benefit, so I like to keep her with kids she’ll feel comfortable with. We’re lucky that we have hooked up with some very bright homeschoolers who are about a year older — that seems to be a good fit. Violet is a bit “spazzier” than they are, but I’m not sure if that’s personality or maturity. (Eggmaster might say it’s genetics — from my side of the family!) And she loves little kids too — she’ll play with anyone who’ll go along with her schemes!
Here is the truth: I am always paranoid that if I put down 4th or 5th grade for my 8-year-old someone out there is thinking “oh who is this overbearing mother trying to act like she’s got the world’s smartest kid?” I blogged about this last summer on the old blog. For whatever reason I live in fear of being dubbed a pushy parent, and that worms its way in to my decision-making process. I suppose I have to accept reality:
1. Some people have already decided I am a pushy parent who gets too worked up about her kid’s “difference.”
2. Other people are too busy dealing with their own kids to care.