Were You or Your Child Held Back in School?

Updated on October 24, 2011
A.S. asks from Canton, OH
12 answers

I posted before about my 3rd grader struggling. I did find a tutor. She starts next month. I am curious if anyone has been held back a grade, how it affected you? A big impact or no big deal? When I was in school, it seemed as if it was a big deal. Basically...embarrassing. We live in a small town and I know it will be hard for her if all her friends move up and she stays behind. I switched schools in 2nd and had a very hard time. My mom decided not to hold me back. Eventually I did awesome and was on the honor roll. I keep waiting for my daughter to "bloom" so to speak. She had another meltdown the other night and said it was all just too hard ;( I know it's still the beginning of the year. She has failed every test. Last year was not this bad. I just feel terrible for her. Thanks Would like to add: I don't mean to sound as if I am giving up on her this early in the school year. She is just so lost in every subject. I pray the tutoring helps.

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answers from Sioux City on

I brought my daughter home and began to home school her because of this kind of a situation. It works wonderful for us. We work at her pace and in some areas she has blossomed, in others she struggles. I know when I first began to homeschool she was so excited because she knew she was behind. She made a list of things she knew she hadn't figured out and wanted to learn. We both know she is very blessed to be able to be schooled at home.

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answers from New York on

I would keep up with the tutor and also ask the teacher if she can provide some before school, or after school help. I am sure it isn't the worst thing in the world but I would for her sake try to avoid it if I could. For now I would try to stay calm and help her as much as you can. I think a tutor is the best thing right now I know sometimes children respond so much more to them then they would with us. If the teacher knows you are working with her she will work with her as well I am sure. There is always summer to get her ready as well. I know my daughter just started teaching and she has 2nd grade and she told me how difficult the curriculum has become. She said 2nd grade is now 3rd grade work when she was in grammar school. I don't get the rush, more and more children are having difficulty, so much pressure. It is early in the year I am sure it will all fall into place. Also, prioritize homework before she gets tired. The stuff she is having the most difficulty with have her do first, the other stuff she can take a break and go back to. Sometimes homework can be overwhelming, especially since they are working hard all day long. I see no issue with you looking up definitions for her etc. (as long as she knows how to) I did it for my son when he was overwhelmed and he was in the Gifted program. Sometimes it is just TOO much and they are tired. As long as they know how to do the work I see no problem in helping them. Good luck!!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Have this child tested for learning disabilities, she should not be flunking every test. She sounds like she may have some issues. A lot of schools won't even test them until 3rd grade but by then it's too late. They have missed so much of the foundation they just never catch up.

If she does have LD then she can get all kinds of things free through the school, a tutor, an aide, un-timed tests, etc...only things that will help her and make learning easier for her.

She could have many different issues, I have LD in math but excel in every other area. My niece needed help in reading and when she got it her grades turned around. It was like night and day since everything a kid does involves reading.

Getting held back is extremely detrimental to the kids, we like to pretend it isn't but it is to them. They internalize that they are too stupid to do anything and it never goes away.

If she really can't do the work then there is SOMETHING that is keeping her back and testing should show what that is. Please help her find out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

We had my oldest daughter repeat 4th grade... she was very intelligent, but got distracted easily. However, we did it when we moved from one state to another, so none of the classmates in her new school would have to know. (She is an August birthday, and was always petite.)

For her, that was the best thing we could do. It gave her a chance to catch up, both socially and academically, without anyone knowing that she had been retained. She is now working on her doctorate in Microbiology at Johns Hopkins.

With daughter #3, we delayed her kindergarten entry 1 year... that also helped, but she still struggled socially. After some difficulties (mostly social) in high school, she is now working toward going into nursing.

I really see ADHD symptoms with #3, and possibly some with #1, but not the same way. They were never diagnosed officially. (I have some of the tendancies, also.)

But..... you already see meltdowns and her feeling that it is all too hard, and constantly failing. At some point, she will just give up. She needs to start having some success in school. When she works with you, do you see that she does know the material, or is she having a hard time comprehending what she is learning?

I really think you need to look at learning disabilities or something like that. As someone else posted, talk to the teacher and/or counselor.

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answers from New York on

I was held back in first grade but it was when we moved. I did first in one school and then when I moved they put me back in first. I was small and born 3 days before the age cut off so being the oldest was better for me. For me I just hadn't really learned to read the first time around in 1st. I would definitely check if your daughter is reading at grade level or needs help with that specifically. I would also talk to the teacher and school counselor to see if there is a specific reason for her lagging. Things to rule out could be: vision and hearing problems, dixlexia (sp?), learning disabilities, ADD, etc. Also is there anything going on emotionally that is talking up a lot of energy. Even if you end up having her repeat a grade it isn't the end of the world, it may help her in the long run.

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answers from Norfolk on

My close friend was held back around 3rd grade. It never bothered her. Her parents never made a big deal about it. She found great friends and we never teased her about it. We love her! Now that we're older I figured out that her trouble was more than likely ADD. She's a smart girl but she has trouble with school and always has. She has trouble with tasks at work now. She has all the symptoms of Adult ADD too. Just food for thought. I think it'll make your daughter feel better about herself by learning what she's taught rather than feeling like she's falling behind and can't understand the same things as the kids who are moving on to 4th grade. I think it's all in how you package it to her. If you don't make a big deal of it it won't be one to her.

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answers from Washington DC on

My mom was. Small school and she ended up the rest of the years with her little sister in her class, which was embarasing for her. I would start with going to the teacher and asking how you can help your child at home. My sister swapped school districts between 1 and 2 and the second district was ahead of the other one so Mom had to tutor her through 2 reading levels to get her on track for 3rd grade. D did fine after that and graduated, went to college,etc. I think that if you haven't discussed this with your child's teacher, you should bring her in the loop. She knows your child is struggling.

Another thing to consider - could she have an undiagnosed learning disability? Maybe some form of dyslexia (there are several) or ADD/ADHD or something else? Maybe a chat with the school guidance counselor is also in order to see about getting her tested. Friend of mine was put in special ed because he couldn't keep up in elementary school. Come to find out a few years later they were mistaking a vision problem for a learning problem (well, the vision made it that he couldn't SEE to do the work) and once that was corrected, he was fine.

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answers from Washington DC on

I wouldn't hold a child back unless it was at the very beginning of kindergarten. No matter how you put it, how nicely you try to sell it, the fact of the matter is, she flunks 3rd grade.
I had to repeat kindergarten. I know my mom put me in Kinder the second time because I would have been the oldest, more mature, the cutoff dates were different, we had moved states. All sorts of excuses. THe bottom line is, I "failed" kindergarten. And I carried that with me for my whole school career.

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answers from Victoria on

a young girl i know was held back in 2nd or 3rd grade. i forget which i believe it was 2nd. she is very embarassed about it and feels dumb! i explained to her that she was just too young to be in the third grade that she now is the same age. she said she was the oldest and she was a year older than the rest of the kids. which is not true. her birthday was right before school and she truly just started too soon. she was the youngest and now she is doing great! she is the same age as everyone else now and it works out great for her. they also found out she needed some strong glasses. my hubby was held back because he did not put forth the effort. other friends were also held back or failed but ususally because they werent doing the work. its totally different things and it needs to be explained to her that she is very smart and she is trying her best that she might need to stay in this class and try again to help her be the best that she can be. reinforce she is not stupid or dumb or lazy. or better yet tell her she is smart and a very hard worker.



answers from Cleveland on

At first I homeschooled my son. He is a bright kid, and whizzed through K through 3rd, and into some 4th grade material by the time he was 7. Then I decided to put him in school (because I started working). He turned 8 at the end of June that year, but the school we chose (a Waldorf school) had a cut-off of June 1st. Therefore, instead of going into 3rd grade, as he would have in a public school, he was placed in 2nd.

At first, I was worried that he would be bored, but because they do so many other things (music, painting, sculpting, Spanish, German, handwork, woodworking, violin, recorder, etc.) he was definitely NOT bored. And, the more I saw, the more I realized the wisdom of the earlier cut-off date. Children develop differently, I know. But I have yet to see a child in one of the classes at our school, and think that they should be a year ahead or behind. They are always perfect fits for their classes.

So I am of the opinion that all schools should have earlier cut-off dates. : )

I don't know when your daughter's birthday is, but if it falls after June 1st - that is, if she turned 8 after the first - she'd be better off in second grade. (In the opinion of the Waldorf schools.)



answers from Tampa on

My recollection of students being held back was the same as yours. I wouldn't have my child held back unless there truly was no other option. If you have exhausted the tutoring option and it just isn't making a difference, then make that decision....


answers from Phoenix on

I was held back in 3rd grade because I didn't know my multiplications. Which I probably could have learned during the summer and moved on with my friends. (and I did learn it all during the summer but my step-monster was hell bent on holding me back). Anyway, it didn't affect me too much. It was kind of hard to see certain friends a grade higher than me.

I would really talk with her teacher and see how he/she is teaching those kids. We are all individuals, and sometimes we learn differently. Doesn't mean we need to be held back a grade, but perhaps a need for a different approach to learning. Make sure you encourage her not to give up because it's hard. Some of us have to work harder to learn while it may come easy for others.

After summer, it is hard for some kids to get back into the routine of school. Some lose what they have learned the year before. I wouldn't consider holding her back just yet. I would seek a tutor, or even advice to see if she needs to be taught a different way in order to understand her studies. :-) Sometimes it's the teacher, not the student. And I'm not saying that in a bad way. Teachers have their own unique way of teaching....some kids can learn from that teacher and their way of teaching, and some kids just need a different approach other than the way that particular teacher is teaching.

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