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Skipping a grade


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#1
keithr128

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Today was "Special Person(s) Day" at my sons school where the kids can invite their special people and take them on a tour of the school and their classroom and during this his teacher pulled me aside and asked me what I thought about my son skipping first grade and going into second grade next year.
She had also asked me if I would consider letting him move up to first grade back in January, but I declined.
His teacher feels that he is now on par with a second grader in their second or third month
He is very advanced academically, especially in math (Though he still makes his fives backwards half of the time :) ) but, I am worried that he may feel isolated socially being that he would then be a year younger than his classmates and he would not have any one that he knew from the year before in his class with him.

Right now I am leaning towards saying no because he loves going to school and I don't want him to start to dislike school because of this.
I also believe that in kindergarten until third grade that a major thing for the kids to learn is socialization skills and I don't want him to miss out on any of that.
I am hoping that anyone here who has had experience with their child skipping a grade or skipping a grade themselves could enlighten me a little on what it may be like for him.
I want to think this through before asking him what he thinks about it and giving his teacher an answer next week.
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#2
lilmama

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#1: I offer *no* suggestions. Back in the olden days when i was young (I'm 71) --- I was "passed" from grade 4 to grade 6. I missed learning fractions and square root -- totally. In High School -- Algebra was mandatory -- I managed to struggle through it -- but it was Purgatory. I was National Honor Society --- all that "good stuff") Was 16 in February -- graduated in May. (Too young to "go away" to college according to my mother).

My first daughter starts school --- I heard the same story from *her* teacher that you heard from your son's teacher. I heard that the entire time she was in elementary/high school. I declined each time.

My second daughter starts school -- Kindergarten teacher advises that she should be "held back". Only problem is -- (we were military) -- the station to which we were being assigned *had* no Kindergarten in their school system. Consequently, she was placed in first grade! For the next 8 years she is "promoted" -- all the while being called "dummy" (and lord knows what else) --- flailing along at the bottom of her class. Needless to say, she HATED school --- *HATED* it (sick stomachs/headaches/even throwing up --- it was *awful*!) At the end of her 8th grade, I called a Teacher's Conference -- yeah --- *I* called it! Well, I have to tell you that at that Conference, I totally broke down -- actually cried. I "begged" them to hold her back --- I mean........I begged! I didn't hear anything from them for two whole weeks -- (I was told later that her teachers had *agonized* and *argued* and disagreed ---- but finally -- they agreed to hold her back.) From that point on --- she absolutely "blossomed" --- it was about the most gratifying thing to watch -- I'd ever encountered. To this day, I'm glad I fought to let her know that going to school was no *all* bad.

Bottom line for me and my two girls: I was "skipped a grade" --- first daughter was not *allowed* to "skip" --- second daughter was "held back". *None* of us have been psychologically damaged/financially harmed/or *deprived* careerwise. (Is "careerwise" a word?)

Please try to remember that you are human. The *best* you can do is by using the knowledge you have at "the moment". And take my word for it --- you aren't judged by the *results* --- you're judged by your "efforts". (I got a feeling your "efforts" have been super/super HUGE the last few days --- betcha' you've lost more than a little sleep, haven't you?)

You are a good dad. (But if you don't come back here and let us know your decision --- I'm probably gonna have to hurt you!). :)
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#3
frantique

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Keith, from personal experience with my own children, I really don't think it makes that much difference now ... I do, however, believe it can make an enormous difference throughout the teen years.

The teen years are difficult enough times anyway and are even moreso for children whose hormones haven't kicked in yet and who are desperately trying to keep up with their hormone fuelled peers. And then you also get the legal age situations ... ie. driving a car, going to the pub. Those who were accelerated and are younger have to wait while their friends are all driving and/or going to the pub.

My son who is now 18 was accelerated just in maths from Grade 4. So while he was in Grade 4 he attended Maths classes in Grade 5 and whilst in Grade 5 attended Maths with the Grade 6'ers. Then when he got to Grade 6 they couldn't accelerate him into high school because their timetables were so different to the primary classes. He was apparently given advanced work to do, however, mostly he was left to his own devices. He totally lost interest in Maths in Grade 6 (even though his exam results were tops) and whilst his aptitude was there in his secondary years his earlier love for and exceptional talent in the subject just waned and he became a very average student.

For the second half of last year when my son and his mates were sometimes out at the pub on a Saturday night, my loungeroom usually contained from 2 to 4 of his friends, (watching tele and waiting for the others to come home), who couldn't go to the pub because they were too young (because we live centrally right in the middle of town our home was a bit of a drop in place for the young people).

As well, my son was judged by the kindergarten teacher to be more than ready to start school earlier than usual because in her words "he was more advanced than most of the students who had just completed kindergarten". And so, on her valued advice I started him early. Within two years he was having remedial work for his handwriting which was put down to the fact that he didn't spend long enough at pre-school where they do a lot of cutting, pasting and other craft type work to develop the fine motor skills.

It is my belief that all children develop differently at different stages and ages and then at some point they become responsible adults (well that is kind of the plan at least :) ). Some babies will walk quicker than others and more than often the others will have mastered language before the faster walkers. There are so many different ways in which a human grows and there really is not any benchmark as to what happens when. An enormous number of people eke out a living telling us what should and shouldn't happen and when. Personally I do not believe in advancing a child. There are numerous ways we can stimulate a child whose interest and abilities are above those of his/her peers. What would be wrong with providing that stimulus whilst the child grows to continually shine in the class they are in. To me the very act of taking a child out of his current peer group and placing him in another must cause some stress to the child - socially and in regard to his perception of himself. Imagine being a little child and you are one of the smartest kids in the class and then next year you've had to leave your friends behind and start trying to get to know another group of little people and you're also just average in your work - like everyone else in your new class.
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#4
keithr128

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Thank you Fran and lilmama for your input on this.
After a lot of thinking and talking to my son about this matter (I even got his mother to get involved in it!) and two meetings with his teachers and principal I have decided to keep him where he is.
Needless to say his teachers pushed very hard for me to allow him to be promoted but, in the end he said that he did not want to do it and that was enough reason for me.
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#5
lilmama

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Thanks for letting us know your decision. I'm sure you're glad to lay this issue aside. Good luck to the *both* of you! :)
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