September 11, 2007,
M.T. asks from Keller, TX on September 10, 2007
Moving My Daughter from 1St to 2Nd Grade
I just wanted to get some feedback on my daughter who is now in the 1st grade starting her 3rd week. She was qualified for Gifted and Talented in Kindergarten and is still in the program for 1st grade. She is an extremely bright child reading at an end of the 2nd grade beginning 3rd grade reading level. Her strategic math skills are phenomenal and just the way she thinks shows me a gift of academics. My question is : Have any of you or knowledge of anyone else have ever skipped a grade? I would like to ask the school about possibly moving her on into 2nd grade. I have read the skills expectations for first grade and she has already mastered the skills. I think she would benefit academically by moving her up. I don't even know if the schools do such a thing (she is in the Keller ISD) I feel we are early enough in the year to do such a change so she won't be behind and being a stay at home mom I would help her with any of the curriculum. I was a 3rd grade teacher for several years but have been a stay at home mom since she was born and have put so much into her thus far academically myself. I want what is very best for her academically. Having said that I also don't want to tramatize her with such a move. Obviously she has made friends and is a very social little girl , making friends easily and there are no discipline problems at all (never have been).
I know this sounds like a very braggy and arogant parent but I feel more that it is a gift from God and I want to give her all I can. She is much taller than the other kids , has been riding her bike to school without training wheels since she started Kindergarten. She looks like a 2nd grader physically so that would not be an issue. Her birthday is in December so she is pretty close to the age of 2nd grader. I feel like moving her now would be easier than trying to skip an older grade level because of the TAKS Testing that begins in 3rd grade.
I know some of you are teachers so I'm just looking for a professional opinion before I bring it up to her teacher. Also some of you mom's may have been in this position before so what do you think? I don't want her to become bored with school and I think this would help. Gifted and Talented is great but only meets once a week and last year didn't seem to bring forth many challenges?
Ok I will stop rambling and hopefully get some feedback. Help! I'm so worried about what to do.
Thanks for all advice,
B.H. answers from Dallas on September 11, 2007
Wow! Sounds overwhelming! I have a daughter that just started the first grade and comes home each day speaking of how easy the work is...I know how tough these decisions can be. All I can offer to hopefully help give you some peace is to also consider if she seems emotionally ready to be submerged with the second graders. I agree with you on your thoughts of making the change sooner rather than later in the year. As well, it would be worth having a conversation with her to see what she wants (even though the final call is up to you, as you know what is truelly in her best interest). Best of luck to you and Kudos! to you for being so involved and giving her such a strong foundation that THIS is your quandry!
N.B. answers from Dallas on September 11, 2007
I have two ways of looking at this...
First, my daughter is in exactly the same boat as yours...reading on a third grade level, in G&T, her birthday is in October and so forth, and there is NO WAY I would let her skip a grade. Just because she is smart intellectually how smart is she socially? I bet she is right along side most of her peers. Also, think about if she does skip a grade when she is in High School/College she will always be the youngest, so if she is 14 and her best friend is 16, will she be doing what a 16 year old is doing when she is in that situation?
Second, I grew up with a girl that skipped first grade and started second grade with me, yes she was smart in G&T, but I promise you she never fit in because her social skills were inept compared to everyone else. She missed out on something that she needed to learn in first grade. I can't say how she is doing now, but all the way thru HS she always seemed to be "missing" soemthing.
I know it is a very tough decision to make, but before thinking about pushing her ahead, talk to the teacher and see if there is something else she can do to make it more challenging for your daughter. That is what I did with my daughter's teacher a little bit and plan to go over it a bit more when we have our parent/teacher conference. Instead of just practing words, my duaghter will be writing and illistrating stories, that type of thing.
T.O. answers from Birmingham on September 10, 2007
There are plenty of ways to enhance your daughters learning opportunities without skipping a grade. I would think very carefully about it before considering it.
Kids grow up too fast. Why speed it up for her? She may need the time emotionally to grow and there are experiences she'd miss.
Fast forward a few years to high-school.... do you really want your daughter to be the youngest one around all those hormones?
It's up to you and I'd say up to her too. Take your time in considering this action.
In high-school, you can take dual-credit classes through Texas Tech, on-line at home, so she can really challenge and excel then. There are certain to be other opportunities for elementary school kids too. Just have to find them.
G.A. answers from Dallas on September 11, 2007
I think they may move them up not sure. I know a young doctor that graduated early and just wanted to get school out of her way. Maturity would be the main issue. Seems like she is there. I would not hold her back into bordom.I am not a teacher but beginning to feel like one since I opened my day care at home. I was always younger then the rest and not as understanding school. It was hard for me. I was also little. So if she is mature and looks like the rest.
Will tell you a story. I had to hold my son back for maturity. When he was 17 he moved out and in with some white trash people who in the end got all his stuff like a beautiful $3500 stereo he worked hard at Wendy's to get. But the law allowed him to move out and nothing we could do. If she is younger she would have to stay under your roof until 17-18. He had not finished school and later got a GED but not the same. They robed me of my years with my child as he moved up north to be with his dad. Later to the streets. So I think if she can handle it and graduate at 16 what a blessing. Less stress of having them in school so long. Girls do mature early. G. W
D.G. answers from Nashville on September 10, 2007
Good luck in Keller, dear! They seem to have major difficulty dealing w/ special needs kids at either end of the academic spectrum, GT or those with any "invisible" disability!
C.J. answers from Dallas on September 10, 2007
As a teacher I would say that it wonderful that your child is so smart and yes it is truly a gift. As far as her skipping a grade I don't think that is the answer. Sit down with her teacher and voice your concerns. Find out if she seems bored in class if so ask the teacher if it is possible to give her assignments that are more of a challenge. It is really hard to say well just let her skip a grade when she has not even been in that grade level for more than a month. You need to get them to give her harder assignments see how she does then make a decision. Usually your teachers will notice if a student is gifted and will help out anyway they can.
C.S. answers from Dallas on September 10, 2007
It sounds like you have already done some of your homework on this. My only thought is that there is not much funding in public schools for the gifted as a rule. If she is exceptional, your burden as a parent is great to give her as much early advantage as possible. I agree that skipping a grade now would be much better than later. I taught school for many years in the upper grades and researched school progams for gifted students back in college.
I have a retired cousin who was so gifted that they cannot measure his IQ and he helps set the standard for IQ tests. The government keeps track of him. He blew through top academys taking the top honors along the way which did not make him very popular with other bright students, but he is amazingly modest. Those whom I have known personally, who can go inside their own head to play with their brain can be very lonely. That, I fear, is their life-long challenge. In your place, I would probably be on the phone with private and public school administrators and actively looking for and talking with other parents of exceptional children in the area and out. Your future years may have you moving where your child needs to be. Start saving!
Best wishes for a bright future!
N. answers from Dallas on September 10, 2007
My daughter's best friend in 1st grade, we'll call her Kate, skipped second grade for the first 6 weeks of that school year because her parents went to all the trouble with the school and the school district to get her to skip. Kate too was involved in the school's talented and gifted prorgram, she has a birthday in October so she was close in age to the older class and in first grade, the teacher had an advanced program in class for students who were not challenged by the regular assignments for students who were more "average" in academics and Kate participated in that program as well. Kate's mom and dad had to meet with the adminstrators several times, the counselors and eventually, Kate had to pass placement tests before they would let her skip a grade. Her parents bought all the 2nd grade books and tutored her all thru the summer and before 2nd grade began, she took the placement tests and placed out of 2nd grade. She skipped 2nd grade and started in 3rd grade on the first day of school. Unfortunately, after all that hard work by her and her parents, Kate was miserable in third grade.
Her mom once mentioned to me back when Kate and my daughter were in first grade that she didn't like Kate's first grade teacher because she had made a comment along the lines of "your daughter is right on schedule behaviorally, socially and emotionaly with a first grader." Her mother, for some reason, took insult to that, but that ended up being the demise to their plan to have Kate advance. She missed all her friends and felt alienated from the "older" kids who had gone thru second grade already and were in third grade with her. After 6 weeks, her parents gave her the option to move back in to second grade and she took it. She's been a very content happy talented and gifted child ever since.
So my advice to you is this. Make sure your daughter is also as advanced behaviorally and socially as she is academically before you try to move her up or all your work may be for nothing. Kate's mother said she wishes they would never tried having her skip because it was a lot of work and effort and she wouldn't recommend it to anyone. It doesn't seem that public schools are as conducive to moving kids up as private schools so if you're really looking to have your daughter skip a grade, you might want to consider putting her in a private school where that is more commonplace.
Definitely check to see if your school offers the advanced work option that I described in my note about first grade. My daughter was also part of that group in first grade and she got a lot from doing the advanced work in class. That may just be something specific to her school or her school district, but it was great and I think it really helped her to stay interested in school because it was definitely more challenging that way.
Good luck in whatever you decide. :-)