Skipping a Grade - Minneapolis,MN

Updated on November 02, 2010
A. asks from Minneapolis, MN
22 answers

My son is in second grade, and he is advanced in math and reading at a 5th grade level. We are having conversations with his teacher and principal about moving him to third grade. I'm fairly opposed to this because I think it can be tough socially. Do you have any experiences or advice?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from St. Cloud on

My granddaughter who is now in 1st grade was also recommended to advance classes because of her intelligence. I strongly advised my daughter against it. I went to a school where one student was 16 when he graduated; he had a very hard time. He did not fit in with his older classmates and he had a horrible social life. I am very much strongly against advancing children in school.



answers from Columbus on

If it were my child I would let him or her. A lot of bright children get bored in class and become talkative or disruptive b/c they already know what's going on.

More Answers


answers from Jacksonville on

Ask about a gifted/talented program instead. You are right to be cautious about the social impacts of skipping a grade. Now, and for in the future (when his classmates are getting driver's licenses and dating and playing rough and tumble sports).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

We are just starting the process of talking to my son's school to figure out options that will work for him, so I can't say what has and hasn't worked as yet, but I have done a lot of research on the topic and feel that the social drawbacks of grade acceleration are the most commonly sited, and possibly the most overblown. If your child is this advanced in many subjects he may not have much in common with children his own age anyway. Yes, there may initially be some stigma if you are in a small school and his new classmates know he was advanced, but that will likely subside over time. I consider that a minor issue when you are making a decision about your child's education that can impact his view of school and internal drive for learning (which he clearly has now) for years to come.

It is easy to say check out a gifted program or have the teacher create challenging work, but in reality these things do little to help the issue of repetitive curriculum and boredom which can result in behavior problems and apathy among gifted children.

Here are some articles to read if you're interested.

The overall answer is that each child is different. Some children are slightly ahead of the curve and will do well in the "appropriate" aged classroom with minor adjustments. Some children are learning at a pace too far beyond the range of the other students their age and this becomes a burden on the student, the teacher and the others in the class. My son is one of those, so I have some experience there. :) For the longest time I wanted him to have a "normal" school experience. We ended up having him evaluated and have worked with a consultant to figure out what path will be best for him. It was emotionally really hard for me give up my idea of what I WANTED for him for the reality of what he actually NEEDS. You do know your son best, but it really helps to be armed with all the best information so you can make your decision with all the facts and not relying on your gut or emotion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would check out an accredited Montessori school. They offer multi-age learning environments and students are given one-to-one pacing for their learning in all subject areas.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My parents did not let me skip ahead, even though I wanted to. My sister was in the grade ahead of me, so I understand why they didn't. But I really, really wanted to. I was bored in class, and I liked the kids in the grade ahead of me much better than I liked the kids in my class.

I agree with many of the previous posters... it really depends on the child and where they are, if they are ready. Ask your son how he feels about it. That conversation might be all the information you need. Also, ask the teachers who he plays with on the playground. If he tends to play with the older kids, that will also help you make your decision.

Above all, follow your instincts. You know your son better than anyone.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bakersfield on

I was faced with that with mine back in the day... My opinion is that it is best they stay in their own grade with the kids their age, ask the teacher to challenge them more. Usually there is a gifted and talented program, if they offer it there that would be the way to go.
It's harder on the kids to be around the older ones even tho it is only a year... it really does make a difference in the emotional maturity.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

My son is also in second grade, advanced in math, and reading at a 5th grade level. I believe lots of kids read above grade level. I don't think these things are enough to advance him a grade level. Children develop at different rates, and who knows where he will be in a couple years. We did suggest to his teacher that he is more than ready for multiplication and she is giving him third grade math work. His class is supposed to read ~310 minute a month at home. He picks books according to his level of comprehension.



answers from Minneapolis on

As a 7th/8th grade teacher, I would oppose this. There are huge developmental leaps that happen near junior high - and the difference between students at these ages can really affect how they function. For me, the students that have been most successful in our school are those that have been held back and thus are a year older than their peers. The youngest students in my class are at a huge disadvantage - no matter how smart they are.



answers from Duluth on

you know, chances are socially its not going to make any difference. i only WISH my parents had chosen to let me go ahead; at least it would have gotten me out of the hell hole that is high school a year sooner.

kids were vicious to me. i was different from them; i did my work, got along with the teachers, the teachers were the reason i got up in the morning. i didnt drink, didnt smoke, didnt party, nor was i invited. i was a music geek, not a sports athletic person. i did not fit in. it wouldnt have mattered if i was 2 or 3 grades ahead; i was never going to fit in, no matter what happened.

i had my own little group of friends. we were basically "the leftovers". we didnt really have a lot in common (even they were smokers/drinkers) but we had common threads between us : we respected each other, we were there for each other through the drama, and we were all rejected by everyone else. we knew what it felt like, so we strived to never treat anyone else that way.

my point is this: educationally, your son is going to be bored out of his skull in a few years, if hes not already. kids that are bored, CAN and sometimes DO become the class clowns, the troublemakers, because they are bored and have nothing better to do. they can also become "lazy" - not really having to study can set them up for failure later on as they HAVE to study, but dont know how. most people dont realize how important it is to struggle for something, and how frustrating it can be to NOT have to struggle, and hit a wall when they do. i know this also from experience; i never had to study for anything. the hardest thing i ever had to do was read a novel or two (because it was hard for me to retain what i was reading sometimes, because i read too fast, or my brain would wander LOL)
so when i hit college, i didnt do very well (or i didnt feel like i did) because i didnt know how to study in the first place. nothing can prepare you better than experience.

anyway, my suggestion, or my answer to your question, is to let him go ahead! let him excel! let him be pushed a little. if he flat out fails, you are open to the idea of resuggestion. talk to your school about the "new" education plan going around: individualized student learning plans. my old school is in the middle of change that will bring them to the point where they can have students of different levels all excelling with the same core materials, yet supporting each student at their level. some kids can do a project on a more detailed, difficult level, and other kids can get a break, yet still get equal credit on the work they are able to do. this would help your son to excel no matter what grade he is in, but it takes a lot of work and training by the teachers..... and i dont know if all schools/districts are ready and willing to take that step yet.

anyway. just do it! :) socially, it probably wont make any difference, because kids are kids, everyone is going to get picked on for something, and i would rather your son be confident in his learning, and his gifts, than to be a target because of boredom or just because hes advanced or something.

anyway. good luck with your decision



answers from Washington DC on

It depends on the child.
We ended up skipping my oldest daughter 2nd grade. She is just fine now as a junior. The kids all know she is younger and has to wait another 9 months for her driver's license, but that has been our only hurdle.
She started her period with the other girls, she was just a little younger, she has always had older more mature friends and never hung out with girls her own age. She is very sure of herself and could have skipped another grade or two. I am kicking myself for not allowing her another skip in elementary. I wouldn't do it now. She needs and wants to do her four years in HS to have the experience. And even though she hated our last move this summer, she is happy .
Her sister, our number 3 was held back in kindergarten. She knew the same things going in as her sister but was not as mature. She has severe anxiety issues and I would NEVER think of skipping her. She is also an October baby and would have started kinder as a 4 year old.
Our youngest has spent many hours in the 5th grade class doing math while a 1st and 2nd grader. I now homeschool him and may put him back after I complete Algebra, which will be completed by the end of 6th grade. He is also a much more mature kiddo than the average 9 year old for the most part, but we will wait and see what the school system has to offer at that time.
My oldest was in the gifted in VA and NC and still bored.
There are camps for gifted kids out there and programs to enhance their natural inquisitiveness, SpaceCamp, Great Books,



answers from Rochester on

I was a gifted specialist for awhile and I still work closely with the gifted specialist in our building. Our district rarely does grade advancements at any grade level for many of the reasons that others have mentioned (especially the emotional and maturity level issues). We do some subject advancements; for example a 4th grade student going into a 5th grade classroom for math. However, those are also not very common. We won't even do that unless we are sure that the student is going to be in the top half of the class that he/she is going into. We don't want to set the student up to fail. Inbetween some grade levels there are huge jumps in what students are expected to do independently and we don't want students to struggle. I would tell you to go with your gut. If you don't think it is the best thing for your child don't do it. It will be the classroom teacher's responsibility to differentiate her instruction to meet your child's needs. If there is a gifted services department in the district they can help. Most districts, if they do have elementary programs, don't start those until 3rd grade (and the programs are often just once a week for an hour or less). But, the department will work with all teachers to help them service students in the classroom. You can also look at the website They have a lot of parent resources. I'm sure there is also a parent organization for gifted students up in the Twin Cities area. They are huge advocates for gifted education.



answers from Milwaukee on

I skipped a grade years ago. Best thing that ever happened. I still ended up being bored, but not nearly as bored as I would have been in my original grade.

As far as the social implications, I think it depends on the child, and for that you know best. I was relatively shy, but I would have been anyway. I did not grow out of it until college. (My husband, who did not skip a grade, was even more shy.) I don't feel like I was socially harmed in any way, especially since many of my friends were actually in even higher grades - I just had more in common with them at the time than people in my grade.



answers from Des Moines on

This was me years ago when I was in 2nd grade. My mom chose not to have me skip up and I'm very glad she made that choice. I got to stay with kids my own age (yes, at this age a year can make a very big difference) and entered the TAG program instead. It kept me occupied - as well as some "exceptions" the school made for me, like allowing me to check out books from the older kids section of the library, etc - and I didn't feel as awkward trying to blend in with a whole new set of older larger children.



answers from Minneapolis on

Have you explored "gifted and talented" programs in your school district? This would put your child in a class with other children who are the same age and grade level who excel academically.



answers from Honolulu on

Yes... the school should have a gifted & talented program... most schools do.

We have some friends, who's children are academically advanced. Most, kept their kids in their current grade... not skipping them.

One, did have their Daughter, skip a grade.
She's a great girl... and academically ahead. But.. now that she is about 13 years old... she is being left out... socially, by other girls... who KNOW she is younger... and she is simply not going through, the things her older classmates are... ie: getting their periods, boys, cliques, etc. So, although she is a likable girl... emotionally and socially... she is now, having problems... and she can't do what the other girls are doing...
In retrospect, the parents feel bad for her now....
BUT, she takes AP classes etc., because she is 'academically' ahead....

With boys, they say, they are behind... emotionally and socially.
To me, these are more important... factors, to consider. Because, it is the emotions and social life.. .that deeply impacts a child... in their life. For better or worse.

Another family friend with their HIGHLY advanced son... kept their son in his grade level, not skipping him in grade. What they did... is simply, outside of school... spent a lot of time on him... with 'advanced' learning and activities... not in a rigid way... but through natural learning... and activities. And per HIS talents and interests... not 'forcing' it... nor turning him into a child of HAVING to only study, just because he is a super brain. He... really had a normal childhood... despite his super brain aptitude... and was happy. Which is the most important thing. And socially, he had the normal progression of things, per his age. Not per his grade. And he had friends, of ALL aptitudes... and interests, because his parents did not raise him to just think of himself as being 'better' than other kids nor 'smarter.' Just a normal kid... who was courted by Harvard... before he even graduated from high school. And, they also taught him about philanthropy... and he tutored other kids too. Underprivileged kids. But, he is a real super brain... who was nurtured... not just for his brain.

I have another friend, who's son when only 4 years old... was reading at a 2nd grade level and doing math at that level as well..... and she kept her son, at his grade level. Because socially/emotionally... it was better for him... and for his overall development. But he takes gifted/talented classes in their school program. He's a happy kid.. and doing well. Not bored.

all the best,


answers from Hartford on

Follow your own mom intuition - you know what is best for your child. Also, ask about gifted students programs, by law your district has to have one. Have you talked to your son about it?


answers from Oklahoma City on

i have a similar situtation, however have chose for testing for advance placment classes, or "special kids" program. I would not encourage skipping grade, based on statistics i found, i decided was not good for my daughter to, because later in intermediate years, a younger child with older children will have a hard time socially.

my school wouldn't press the issue as much as i wanted, so i went on my own and got books of my daughter's level, and i push her at home and prepare her for future grades (ex she's second grade, and right now we study multiplication tables after homework so she'll be ready for them next year, and will start dividing later)



answers from Omaha on

My son is also in 2nd grade. He also is in a fifth grade reading level and the teacher told me he was her little helper and goes around helping all the other children.

Anyways Kindergarten, and 1st they asked and I declined. He was mature enough to be advanced! I was two grades and trust me I was NOT ready to deal with that. Imagine being a freshman in high school and taking math with all the seniors. Yeah that made for an interesting life.

But we keep telling them no but luckily our school district has a new teaching method where the kids do work based upon what levels they are. There is 3 spelling tests, groups based up what level the groups read at. When they are doing things that are too easy the kids are told to go to the computer lab.

But I was asked twice and I declined. He barely gets along with kids his own age. I can't imagine older.



answers from Chicago on

I think you should follow your instincts. If you feel it's going to be tough socially, you're probably right. A year can make a huge difference for students. I'm always reminded of this at the start of every school year when I see my old students and compare them to my new ones. I say go with your instinct. Have him stay in his current grade and have the school meet his academic needs a different way.



answers from Johnson City on

my oldest skipped a grade, in kindergarten he was tested and found to excell in many subjects, so the school let him spend time each day in the kindergarden class and time in a first grade class, he did just fine, then when he got in first grade since this had already been established he did it again was tested found to excell in some subjects and spent time each day in first grade and time in second, but there were behavior problems developing, not because of the students but because he wasnt structured, he was bouncing, so right before christmas he was put in the 2nd grade, yes there have been some things we have had to work a little harder on like grammar to help him catch up but overall since he started this in kindergarden he had friends and made the transition very easily, short of a few things he missed out on by bouncing from class to class.



answers from Minneapolis on

Skipping grades and holding kids back does not occur as often as it used to, mainly because of the social implications and developmental factors. If he skips a grade now, it may not make a difference, but when the next developmental shift comes (puberty!) he will be behind his classmates. Also, your son's "level" is never constant, and while he may be 3 levels above his peers now, he may even out and be at the same level (or slightly above) later on. Another thing to consider is math. Even though he's good at math now, there are some really tough concepts coming up (i.e. FRACTIONS). As a teacher, I've seen that some kids are developmentally ready for the tougher concepts before others. I've had kids come in one year and NOT understand these concepts, then show up the next year and "get it" completely.

So, a few things to consider. Maybe wait it out and enrich as much as you can at home?

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions