Asynchronous Development

Asynchronous Development

Asynchronous development is commonly considered the idea that a child might be reading three years above his or her age but have the social-emotional skills of someone three years younger. That is a good start. However, there is something else about asynchronous development that I've seen in my 2e son that is worth contemplating. Where others climb ladders, he bounces on a trampoline.

Imagine the sequential learner climbing a ladder. She gets a firm hold on the bottom rung, then the second rung, then the third and so on. If the footing gets a little loose, she pauses before moving higher. Steadily, she climbs up.

Now imagine a child who is also trying to get to the top of the room but not using a ladder. Instead, he is bouncing on a trampoline. He gets his feet underneath him and presses a few times to get the feel of the bottom. And then he soars, rocketing past the rungs of the ladder to glimpse the top. Again and again he bounces, covering the full range of height, completely out-of-sync with his classmate who is climbing the ladder nearby.

That is asynchronous development, too.

There are great things about bouncing instead of climbing. It is fun; the views are amazing; and the child sees the ladder in its entirety long before his counterparts. There are also challenges. As he sails past some of those middle rungs, he doesn't have the opportunity to feel it out...and may only encounter it when he comes back to the subject years later. Playing on this metaphor a little more...he'll only touch that middle rung on the ladder when it helps him leap onto the trampoline from a new height.

As a homeschooling parent, I am able to let my son bounce on the trampoline all he wants. That is how he learns. It is remarkable, amazing, and delightful. It also requires an astounding amount of patience on my part as well as a knack for finding that sweet spot for when suggesting climbing the ladder might help with his bounce.

It is something that was not celebrated in public school nor even tolerated. I consider it a great privilege that we get to do it our way. I also consider it my responsibility to share this insight with all of you. If you take anything from this short post, take this: It is a common misconception that all gifted children move swiftly and sequentially through their academic studies. In fact, many do. In fact, many don't.

Salute! See you on the trampolines!

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