Exacerbating Asynchrony: Why Homeschooling 2E Kids Makes Sense

When I made the decision to homeschool my now 16-year-old son just prior to his second grade year, my main goal was to fix his academic problems, and the sooner the better.  I quickly came to see that, beyond remediating academic weaknesses, equally important was the opportunity homeschooling offered to develop his academic strengths.  What we created in the process was a child that, for a time, would in no way fit into any sort of traditional classroom—advanced, behind, on level—and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Though I didn’t know it when we first started homeschooling, my son is twice exceptional, and in his case this means that he is gifted and also has dyslexia.  But at the end of first grade, he presented as somewhat less than bright—slow to understand, slow to respond, just plain slow—with isolated flashes of brilliance.  He could barely read a handful of CVC words and was unable to count to ten reliably.

I worked with him during that summer between first and second grades and somehow got his math to the point where he placed into a second grade math book.  But the reading was coming along at a glacial pace, and I knew he needed long term, intensive help if he was ever to approach grade level.  So, in August, I withdrew him from school and embarked on a journey that lasted close to nine years.

My first clue that my son might actually be gifted was the speed with which he blew through the second grade math book.  He finished it in two months, though one reason he could was that I read everything aloud and scribed for him, accommodations he needed to be successful.  I would continue to provide these accommodations for math until he was halfway through Algebra I at the end of fifth grade.

As for reading, each day we did a phonics lesson, followed by reading practice.  And then we practiced some more after lunch.  And still more at bedtime.  My son’s stamina for reading was low and splitting it up into a several sessions seemed to work better.

And writing?  Well, that first year we didn’t do any.

I think my son peaked on asynchrony, at least in the academic realm, somewhere around the end of third grade.  At that point, he had finished the fifth grade math book but could barely write a coherent sentence, and he certainly couldn’t spell.  His reading had finally taken off; the dysfluent sounding out was a thing of the past, and, to everyone’s great joy, he started reading for pleasure.

His achievement test scores over the years echo these observations:  Prior to homeschooling, we had some testing done, and all the scores were similar and well below the 50th percentile.  At the end of third grade, the spread was close to 70 percentile points, with the math being at the 99th percentile.  From there, the gap began to close:  30 points at the end of fourth grade, 15 at the end of 5th, and so on, until finally, at the end of 9th grade, our last full year of homeschooling, the big three—reading, math, and language—were all at the 99th percentile.

Twice-exceptional kids, at least the ones with a learning disability as the second exceptionality, need intensive remediation to be sure, but they also need to be given the ability to fly with what is easy for them, even if they need to be extensively accommodated to do so.  Simultaneously remediating and accelerating  is likely to produce great asynchrony for a time, and that is exactly what you want!  But this process will not happen in a traditional school setting.  Traditional schools cannot facilitate the extreme acceleration 2E kids need in areas of strength and the extreme accommodations they may need to get there.  Traditional schools will also drop any efforts at remediation once the child approaches average—and in the schools around here, average apparently starts at the 16th percentile!  In addition, it is critically important to remediate weak areas until they are in line with a child’s innate ability—and, by definition, a 2E child’s innate ability will be at the 99th percentile.

Homeschooling my 2E son was the most difficult and most rewarding thing I have ever done.  It is truly not for the faint of heart.  But the results—a confident, competent, and knowledgeable young man—have been worth it.  For us, homeschooling not only made sense, it was the only option.

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9 Responses to Exacerbating Asynchrony: Why Homeschooling 2E Kids Makes Sense

  1. Wow! This is going to be a big inspiration to a lot of folks out there with 2E kids. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Jean says:

    Thanks, I really enjoyed your story! Makes me think of a little girl I know…

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  4. ingimc says:

    Thank you so much for putting into words what we have found to be the case. Homeschooling my 2e son has been such a great thing for him – I don’t like to think of what may have been if we persisted with school…

  5. Erin says:

    I’d love to invite you to join us for the launching of the Homeschool High School Carnival!!:)

    You’d have such a wonderful voice to contribute, hope you can join in the fun.

  6. stephanie says:

    Thank you for sharing your inspirational story – and for being reaslistic and saying that it’s not for the faint of heart! My son is ending 5th grade and the gaps are closing, but it is a process of trial and error to see what works best, and an ongoing balance between the hard work of remediation and the fun of seeing his gifts in action!
    Please keep blogging – would love to hear more from you!

  7. loopyg says:

    Thankyou so much for writing this. My 2e son is 6.5yrs old which means he’s in his 2nd yr of school here in the UK. We don’t know yet what his learning issues may be but his psychometric test scores range from 16th percentile to 99th percentile. His strengths are non verbal. In class he is average to low average across the board but writing is is biggest issue. Reading came later than average but is getting fluent now. I believe he needs to be homeschooled but we’re trying to make a decision that we’re all happy with before taking the plunge. Your post is inspirational. Thankyou x

  8. Carmen Downes says:

    Thank you for expressing the situation of a 2e child so clearly. My son is 8, and we homeschool for the very reasons you describe. I’ll keep following your blog, as I’d love to hear more! Thanks,Carmen

  9. Carol says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. We just finished the second grade year homeschooling. Our son was in public school for K and 1st. It always helps to hear from people who have been down a similar path. I felt such relief to know you didn’t worry about writing the first year. Many days his writing consisted simply of name, date, alphabet.

    I enjoy homeschooling him so much compared to having him in school. There are so many accomodations we make naturally and easily that I would have to fight for if he were in school. He is better able to learn because he isn’t nearly as frustrated. He is also given so much more opportunity to learn and excel. Sometimes what he picks to read to me is well above his reading level but as long as he is willing to work on it I’m here to help. He is so much happier.

    I really appreciated you sharing some of the testing information. I have been wondering what test scores might look like for such unique children.

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