When my daughter entered full-time college at age 13 we heard all kinds of warnings from people about how it was a shame that she would miss out on a "normal" childhood and was not it a shame that she would not be allowed to just "be a kid." The comments did make me think about the situation we were entering and I did sometimes wonder if there would be any damage done once she got older. However, I was convinced that what we were doing was the only option and so we moved forward.
To date, it has been eight years since my daughter entered college. She recently turned 21 and will complete her Master's degree this Spring. I have since gone back to college for my third degree and have had the opportunity to talk to many people about the early college process. After all these years, I asked my daughter if she had it to do over again, would she? I asked if she felt as if she missed out on anything by not going to high school. Her answer: Yes, she would do it again without any hesitation. And, no she does not feel as if she missed out on a "normal" childhood. To her, she did have a normal childhood. What prompted me to write this article was that one of my co-workers who has worked in education for many years said "It's a shame your daughter had to miss out on a normal childhood." Years later, after my daughter and I had already determined that we had not only made a good decisions, but that we had made the best decision and would follow the exact same course again, I was still raising the same warning, the same "its such a shame. "
One of the other accelerated kids was on TV recently and I heard a reporter say the same thing. "Yes, she has completed a lot, but you have to wonder. What about her childhood?" I just shake my head when I hear it now. I realized that the people who are usually saying it have never even met an accelerated child. They've never been exposed to that world at all … So, they really are irresponsibly giving their "expert" opinion on things that they know absolutely nothing about.
I can say that my daughter did miss out on some things by not going to high school. She missed out on being exposed to drugs and alcohol. She missed out on being exposed to other kids who do not take school seriously and who misbehave. She missed out on cliques. She missed out on gang violence. She missed out on sitting in a classroom, being told not to talk from 8 to 2:45 every day.
My daughter's childhood was filled with after school activities. She was on the soccer team with kids her own age. They practiced three to four days a week. She was in dance class three to four days …