While I am proud of her for "mastering" the material so quickly, I am very disappointed about ALEKS program for this high-level math course. It was very "procedural", and with her good memory Smarty could memorize the formulas and apply them to hack her way through the course. While asking her questions and giving her some problems to solve to prepare for the final, I saw her making rash mistakes in calculation by doing too many steps in her head. I also saw that she knew what to do - i.e. which formula to apply, but not necessarily why she was doing it. Her "mastery" seems really tenuous and would dissipate quickly - a classic "pass the test and forget it" syndrome.
Based on all this, I am positive that next year I want Smarty to be in the math classroom with a real teacher, however tedious it might feel to her in the first few weeks of reviews. I think that she will be ready for Calculus if she takes up pre-calculus now. She already covered trigonometry portion of it as part of Algebra 2, so she should test out of at least 50% of pre-calculus course. This time I plan to stay more on top of her studies and supplement her ALEKS how to instructions with a bit of why (most likely from the AoPS book). I am pretty positive that she has gaps at the moment but I am still confident that they can be closed next year, and I also think that she will enjoy (or at least will tolerate) her Calculus class, because it is likely to be quite small with only the strongest mathematicians of her school from different grades taking it. One of them should be her fellow current 8th grader who also happens to be a grade skipper and only 2 weeks older than Smarty. He has attended Smarty's new school since 6th grade and is currently taking Precalculus in the classroom.
Does it mean that Smarty will "run out" of math classes in high school? Well, yes, but her school does offer dual enrollment in community college in higher grades. She is also interested in taking both AP Statistics and AP Computer science, which both count as math, so she could be OK in terms of math credits even if she does not choose to be dual enrolled. We will take it one year at a time... or maybe two years of math at a time if she continues to be interested in it.
How is math going for your students this school year?