Friday, January 13, 2017

I Had My Doubts

Dawson is the oldest.  Aidan is the musician/artist.  Bohdan is the baby.  And Jabin is, well, Jabin.

But my second son, Nevan just finished his first semester of high school.  He hadn't been in a classroom since the end of his second grade year and he hadn't done traditional math course work in years.  Instead, he did a lot of interesting math problems.

So, I has a little hesitant when the local high school recommended he take math 2 and chemistry as a freshman based on a single placement test.

Our conversation went a little like this:

Me:  Nevan, I know they say you're ready for these classes, but remember, you're being asked to take math 2 and there's a lot of content in math 1 that you haven't done.

Nevan:  I know Dad, but I want try it.

Me: Ok, that's good enough for me.

I mean, he wanted to challenge himself.  And even though I have reservations about acceleration in general, I knew Nevan would have support at home.   So, we decided he could give it a shot on the condition that he could always move into a math 1 class if he felt overwhelmed.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

Suffice it to say, he has done very well in both his math 2 and chemistry classes so far.

The takeaway for me here isn't that my wife and I have done anything extraordinary.  The takeaway is that my son has learned how to learn.  He reads everything that he can get his hands on, is curious and is willing to take risks.

The fact that he had some content gaps didn't matter because he was willing to do what he needed to do in order to fill them.

This really makes me wonder about all of the time we spend worrying about "gaps" in student's knowledge.  I realize that claiming this as a mindset win would be shortsighted as Nevan has advantages that most of my students don't.  However, it's a clear indication that habits of mind matter.  They matter a lot.