October 24, 2010,
W.R. asks from McKinney, TX on October 22, 2010
Skipping a Grade - Carrollton,TX
My daughter's school has discussed the possibility of skipping from 2nd to 3rd grade mid-year based on her ability to process the schoolwork and her ability to emotionally handle the change. This is a small charter school with no talented and gifted program. They aren't pushing us, but seem to really believe this is the best move for her. We could choose the timing (at end of grading period, after Christmas, etc). Other students have made similar moves and seemed to do okay, but I'm really concerned about later when she is moving into middle school and high school at a younger age than her classmates. Do any of you have experience with this, and how did it turn out for you?
So What Happened?™
Thanks to everyone for your feedback. We decided to do a trial run and then make a decision after Christmas. She is spending part of the day in 3rd grade and part in 2nd grade beginning this week. She is totally in favor of the move because she is bored, so if she adjusts well, we'll go ahead and make the transition.
M.R. answers from Phoenix on October 22, 2010
My vote is NO, don't do it. I've passed on all 3 of my children skipping a grade' b/c they were smart enough to do more...Here's why:
1. They will graduate and leave home a whole year earlier and attend college a whole year earlier with all peers older then them.
2. They will not be able to date their older peers - my rule.
3. They will not be able to get part time jobs with all their new older peers b/c they will be just one year too young.
4. They will not be learning to drive and getting their driver's license in the same grade as their new older peers.
5. By keeping them in their current grades they have experienced and will continue to experience wonderful successes and enjoy being at the top of the class. This is not a bad place to be and there are wonderful life-long benefits to that kind of self esteem and position.
6. They still have to grow emotionally, and that can never be rushed. Intellectual growth comes in spurts. There will be times when their effort and abilities will be taxed enough. Don't stress them out.
Let them be normal kids. They have to learn to get along with all people eventually, or so we hope. It is nice that she is processing homework and schooling easily now in 2nd/3rd grade, she has years of education ahead of her, where it won't be so easy.
Have her commit to something else, like music / piano lessons to challenge and motivate her. Remind her that she is blessed to have this ability and opportunity and that it is ultimately her responsibility to continue to try hard.
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M.M. answers from Dallas on October 23, 2010
If she has close friends among the grade right now, it might be a shock to her to make new friends so suddenly. I have been a teacher for 40 years and believe in challenging gifted students. My daughter was fortunate to attend an elementary school with achievement levels within each grade. As soon as she finished one set of assignments correctly, she was moved to the next. It wasn't competitive or an issue. Each student in the early grades worked to achieve at his or her pace, with the help of parents and teachers, of course. I, on the other hand, was moved all over the grades when I was in elementary school and never felt a strong social feeling with the other children. Maybe your daughter knows the children in the higher grade or you could arrange something where she could interact with them. For girls, a year older or younger doesn't make as much difference as it does for boys. I would also get her imput so that she knows exactly what is happening. And, I suggest NOT to "bribe" her by telling her what a "genuis" she is, etc. Good luck. This is a hard one.
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B.W. answers from Dallas on October 23, 2010
I can only speak for myself. I graduated high school after being in the pilot program for honors in DISD (yep I am old) at 17. The elementary school had wanted me to skip a grade as well but my parents said no as they did not think it fair to my brother who was a year older to be in the same grade with me. I took classwork a grade + ahead anyway. I went directly to a full university and did just fine...I would have loved to skip that grade - I hung out mostly with older kids anyway......I took Algebra in 7th grade....it can be a blessing for some kids...you don't want her bored as she will learn to hate school as did my brother as there was no gifted for him - it started in my year....talk to your child...she might have an opinion...
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T.M. answers from Bakersfield on October 22, 2010
If you want your 15 yr old to be hanging out with the 16 yr old girls that might be dating at that age, you might run into a few bumps in the road.
Esteem wise I think you should keep her with her same aged classmates.
A lot of times our kids excel and seem smarter than others in the early elementary years, but as time goes by they all seem to level out.
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L.K. answers from Dallas on October 23, 2010
I am only now beginning to understand the bigger issues of being gifted and talented. My daughter is 8, the oldest in her class, and now in 2nd grade having LOTS of social and discipline issues. I found this website that is slightly overwhelming, but has lots of answers and resources. http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/ Devour this before making your decision.
I have wondered myself about moving her forward, but for all the reasons already posted here, I won't do that. I think the answer is to keep her challenged in other activities, enrichment classes, music lessons, etc., and seek out other gifted kids to maybe spend time with. Good luck!
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D.S. answers from Dallas on October 24, 2010
It really does depend upon her maturity level, physically and emotionally. When I was in elementary school my parents decided to not have me skip a grade. I was the tallest in my class and always tended to hang out with older kids so I believe I would have made the transition fine. By the time I was in middle school though, I was incredibly bored. I acted out and was constantly in trouble. I still maintained straight As, but I spent a lot of time in detention.
I did have the benefit of a math class that allowed me to move at my own pace. I finished 2 grade levels in one year so the school moved me into highschool algebra my 8th grade year (the highschool was on the other side of the building). The truth is though that the damage was already done. I needed to attend my algebra classes because it was challenging, but I constantly skipped out of the other classes. Fortunately, I've turned out fine, but things could have gone very wrong.
I really do not believe 1 year in age difference makes that much of an impact socially. It is not as though your only friends are in the same grade level. My daughters are 8 years old and their friends range in age from 5-12.
Ultimately, it is not a black and white question. The decision you make will have long term effects. Listening to other people's opinions may help you decide, but you are the only one who truly knows your own child.
P.G. answers from Dallas on October 22, 2010
I did it in Catholic school around 1975 - I went from 2nd to 3rd grade. Though I don't think I "suffered", and I kept up fine once I adjusted, I'm not sure it's the best thing. If private or montessori school is do-able, try that. The thing I remember is not having a CLUE as to what was going on the day I switched - they were doing fractions and I didn't know what that was. I'm sure teasing would be an issue, but that happens to almost everyone anyway - just be aware of it. If you do decide to do it, work with the school to PLAN the move and perhaps have a teacher someone work with her on the schoolwork that the next grade will be working on so she knows what's going on when she officially makes the switch
G.H. answers from Chicago on October 22, 2010
My niece is currently 13. Her bday is Nov 27th. My sister was pressured to have her skip kindergarten. Her struggles academically didn't start till she was in junior high but she still did pretty good she just had to try harder. Her biggest struggles came around 6th grade and it was all social issues. She is now in high school & way more immature than her peers. She is really struggling to the point she talked to her counselor about being suicidal. Girls are MEAN and vicious. Even though they live in a very very good school district were bullying is absolutely not tolerated it still goes on. Even being just a year younger the girls know so much. My niece has come home asking all kinds of horrible questions that she is just not ready for. My sister doesn't want her hanging out with her peers because they seem to be so much more mature therefore she really doesn't have many good friends.
My friends son is in a similar situation. His bday is Aug 24th cutoff is Sept 1st so he has always been the youngest in his class. He is in AP classes & has a very high IQ he is just so lost socially. He has absolutely no friends.
It's a hard decision because elementary kids still have their innocence but middle & high school is a whole other story, so much is lost & when you are one of the youngest that innocence is something kids aren't ready to lose.