S.B. asks from North Ridgeville, OH on February 21, 2008
Skipping a Grade
I have posted on here before about my son and the situation I was having with him and school, now some new developments have brought me back to get some more information. We have been told since he was three that he was a very bright boy, he is now 6 1/2. Back in Oct/Nov we had a meeting with the principal (thank you!), his teacher and the gifted teacher to discuss what we could do for him. They told us that they don't test kids until the 2nd grade and that it wouldn't prove anything if he was tested because they know he was a smart kid. Well we, on our own, went and had him tested (IQ and academics), we were very surprised to say the least. He tested higher than we had thought. We went to the schools and shared our findings with them and just now they seem to want to work with us. My question is this....has anyone skipped their child a grade level? Did you regret it? Were you happy with your decision? He would finish up 1st grade and then go to 3rd grade. They start a gifted program when in 3rd grade and so he would be able to get those resources. We have a meeting with intervention program in 2 weeks and I was just trying to get as much information and feed back before I go in. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I am just trying to do what is best for my son.
So What Happened?™
WOW, when I wrote this request I was hoping that I could get some information for a lot of different sides. I couldn't have imagined that I would have had this many responses. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and thoughts...I appreciate every one of them. I think that after reading all of your responses and sharing them with my husband we are not going to push him to skip a grade but rather be more active in making sure that the school does their job in offering him the enrichments in his class. Thank you again for helping us with making a very difficult decision. I know that I will always second guess myself, but I will just have to trust the fact that I am doing what I feel is the best thing for him and I am making this decision with love. Thank you!!!! Please feel free to keep the advice coming!!!
H.B. answers from Cleveland on February 22, 2008
I would not push him! He is super smart, that's great... Is he EMOTIONALLY ready to be in a grade where EVERYONE is bigger than him, older than him, and WILL make fun of him! Kids are cruel. Unless you are placing him in a school designed for his advanced capabilities, just pushing him forward in public school is going to set him apart for teasing and bullying. Though not right, it is a fact. He is way to young to have to deal with that. I would wait on advancing him. Let him get a good, firm foundation in school, with friends his age, and maybe put him in an academic program after school, or something a little more challenging, for more mental stimulation. By pushing him now, when so young, you will do more harm than good and could actually make him underachieve, because he wants to be like everyone else. He is only 6, let him play and be 6. Don't stop challenging him, just do it somewhere besides his classroom at school.
D.M. answers from Indianapolis on February 22, 2008
In my experience, kids that are truly "gifted" generally get along better with those at their intelligence level, not necessarily their age level. I chose not to start my son early into school, mostly because of advice like you are receiving now. I wish that I had not listened. He has had to learn to "adjust" his expectations of what he will learn in classes; tolerate others who bully him because he's smarter; or else they always want to be in his group because they think they will get a good grade and he'll do all of the work. Fortunately, we've been able to supplement his education by allowing him to take online classes and participate in programs at a local university. Also, the school system started a self contained gifted class at his elementary school that was terrific.
Also, a friend of mine had a similar issue. Her son was one of the older kids in his grade level and he was extremely bright. By working with the school system, principal and teachers, he was able to transition by spending one semester in second grade and the next semester in third grade. This worked well and he is a successful middle schooler now.
At younger ages - pre-K through grade 2 - kids tend to make friends easily and don't get hung up on the social aspects that we adults make so much of. Whatever friends he may lose as a result of a grade skip will be more than made up for by new friends and more comfort in the classroom.
J.R. answers from Cleveland on February 21, 2008
There is so much more to school than academics. He'll be in classes with kids that are at least one year (possibly almost 2 years) older than him. How will he do socially? How will he feel about being the last kid in his class to reach puberty or get a driver's license? If he plays sports, he may fall behind due to size or motor skills development.
The other consideration is that the academics are going to get progressively more difficult. Just because he's excelling in 1st grade doesn't necessarily mean he will breeze through 3rd grade (or 8th or 11th)...especially if he skips the fundamentals learned in 2nd grade. My daughter was borderline bored in 1st grade because she was an early reader. She is now in 3rd grade, though, and it's a little different story. Some subjects are still a breeze for her, but other subjects present a decent challenge for her.
I would personally wait another year or two, and see how things shake-out.
J.K. answers from Mansfield on February 21, 2008
I was a child who tested as "gifted" in kindergarten and was skipped ahead to first grade. I made terriffic grades, but, to be honest, I always felt a little insecure socially. I really wish I had been kept in the class with kids my own age.
Now I am a first grade teacher with 11 years experience. I can say first hand that kids really benefit from being with peers their own age. Quite often, kids who are gifted struggle more socially. The school work may be easy for your child, but I would encourage you to let him stay with his peers and build strong social skills. These are just as important in life as academics. Your child has his whole life to work at school things. I think you should let him be a kid as long as you can.
C.S. answers from Lima on February 21, 2008
I haven't had this issue with my boyz as they are 4 and 6, and the oldest is actually struggling with kindegarten right now!!
I have some information from my own personal experience. I started kindegarten when I was 4, turned 5 that Sept., I too was "gifted" at the time, and went for two weeks in 2nd grade as normal. I was bored, restless, drawing on my papers, and even sleeping cuz I was SO bored. I knew everything already and started acting up cuz I was just, well bored. After those two weeks, I was moved into the 3rd grade and had some challenging work to do and was content.
As far as I remember, I really didn't have any issues with the move until closer to high school. I never really got behind and didn't struggle with learning, but the age thing really held me back at times.
Due to me starting early and skipping, I graduated high school at the age of 16. This means I couldn't drive till mid way thru my senior year, I couldn't hang out with the seniors and do the things they did cuz I was too "Young", so says my mom =)
I struggled with fitting in and ALWAYS being the "baby" and youngest in my class. The advantage was I had my associates degree at the age of 18. But I also feel now that I was forced to grow up WAY too early!!!
I hope this helps, please consider both sides of the equation. If he is bored and not being challenged and can handle third grade fluently, you may need to advance him.
Consider the future; however, and how he will be affected age and friend wise as he matures and gets to high school.
Please feel free to message if you want to talk about this further!!!
=) GOOD LUCK
K.W. answers from Muncie on February 22, 2008
I am in the same EXACT situation you are in. My daughter is also in first grade and extremely smart. Her reading and comprehension is at a late 4th grade level. Her teacher works really hard to try to keep up with her so she doesn't get bored. Our school offers gifted classes in 2nd grade but we have to move. I have two different schools in the new city that offer gt classes for her for next grade. The problem is that they only have so many openings and there is a risk that she won't get in. I am prepared to teach her at home instead of sending her to a regular school where she will become bore, irritated and lose her thirst for learning. I have read articles online about the horrible outcome of "sitting" on a bright child-making them sit and wait while the others get their work done. It was very frightening to read these things. My daughter was so bored in kindergarten that she cried daily. I will not do that to her again! My advice to you is to seek out the homeschooling options and keep him at school next year and then put him back in school in 3rd grade when he can enter the gifted program. There are a ton of homeschooling options available including internet homeschooling. Good luck and I'm there with you!
R.S. answers from Mansfield on February 22, 2008
My name is R.. I'm from Toowoomba, Australia, I have relatives in Howard. I have a son in grade one at Toowoomba Grammar, a selective private school. Last year when Thomas was doing Prep (the year before grade one) he was doing sight words for grade three because he loved his reading and is very good at it, in the end the teachers were making up words to give him. My boy has Asperger's Syndrome, which can be confused as a gifted child. Thomas could do grade two work this year, but socially, he would suffer. Does your boy interact well with his school friends or does he seek out older children to talk with? Perhaps, and I mean perhaps he has Asperger which comes with a high IQ and I would not skip a grade instead work on his social ability.
D.G. answers from Columbus on February 22, 2008
They did this to my younger Sister back in the 60's . They later found that she was so bright because everything I learned in school I came home and taught it to her.Being put with children older than herself gave her a very low self esteme and her maturity was very low compared to the rest of her class mates.She eventually was put back into the grade she was suppose to be in and flurished.For a while she was like a freak because of the advancement,she was smaller, younger etc.
M.B. answers from Cleveland on March 17, 2008
Our son just skipped 2nd grade and went to third. We met with the principal, his first grade teacher, his 3rd grade teacher, and the G&T Director. There is a test out called the Iowa Acceleration Test, which will be a good indicator. We all agreed he would have to score "excellent" on it in order to skip and he did. He is finally in a class with kids who get his sense of humor, who can play his games, who challenge him in a good way. Socially it was the best thing for him. But his teacher and the principal were also supportive. I would not have done it had I felt like they would resist. And many do because of this "social" issue. The Iowa test will also consider his maturity level. Don't let people discourage you. Bright kids need to be with their peers (intellectually, not just age) and they need to learn how to work. I knew if my son moved to 2nd, he would just always coast, never experience a challange, and as a college professor, I knew what that would mean.
We do make sure to keep our distance from his school work. I do not check his homework (except to see that it is done) and we let him find his way through it. I do not want the teachers to see something that isn't there, and if we helped a lot, then they wouldn't know how bright he is. Many parents get way too involved in their kid's schoolwork and it was tempting as he was transitioning into 3rd (there were bumps! mostly with homework), but we let him do it alone and now I feel confident that we made the right choice. More importantly, he is too.
P.H. answers from Cleveland on February 22, 2008
I also had two gifted childred. My oldest started school at a very early 5 years old. Most of the mothers in his grade waited to send thier children to school until after they were six. Keep in mind that if this is the same in your area, he will be about 3 years younger than everyone in his class, I don't know and it is really had to tell at this age if they are into sports or anything else physical. If they are there is a BIG diffrence when it comes to the size of a fifteen year old compaired to an eighteen year old. Just my thought, Kind of went throught the same thing with my son, however he was really tall for his younger age and was not into sports where size mattered (football) only strenght and speed (soccer) and he did really well. He is now graduating college with a chemical engineering degree and doing very well. My suggestion, don't push it. They have plenty of time to grow up.
In high school, he will have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement classes or in his juniour or senior year attend college in what we call here a post secondary situation. My daughter did that and only took three years to get her education degree in college after high school.
Good Luck with what ever you decide.
S.W. answers from Cincinnati on February 22, 2008
I do not have a child who skipped a grade, but I can give you some perspective from the eyes of a child who skipped a grade, as my husband skipped a grade when he was young, pursely from some social perspective.
He has always told me that when he was 15 and all of his classmates were 16, he felt very left out being the only person not able to drive; especially as he began dating etc. and would have to rely on his parents to drive him on dates when his peers were more mobile.
In college, he also felt the isolation a bit, being the one kid in the group of his friends who was not able to gain access to the bars. Not for the drinking aspect; mainly the social aspect, as that's where most kids went in college to socialize.
He and I have talked about what we would do should our children be faced with the same options of skipping a grade, and I always hope that my children will be confident and value the academic reasons for skipping a grade above anything that sounds as trivial as the above, but I always have to remind myself that peer pressure is strong and social status etc. among kids, especially in critical character-testing times as high school and college. I myself haven't reached an answer on what I would do whould we be faced with this. It's just an additional thing to consider.