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I was skipped from kindergarten to first grade and it was the worst thing that could possibly have been done to me. The fact is that I didn't have the emotional maturity to handle being with older kids, especially when puberty hit. I am childless, so this is not a decision I will have to make as a parent, but if I were a parent I would never consent to having my child skipped. Never.
The boredom argument doesn't really hold water. School was easy for me in grade school even after I was skipped. As I got older, school became increasingly more challenging and I found myself surrounded by students who with equal or better academic skills than my own, but that also would have happened anyway. There were simply no up sides to this experience and nothing but down sides. Sorry, I think the whole idea of skipping a grade is misguided.
Hi Rowan, welcome to the Edutopia community. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Given that you partly agree with the decision to not skip eighth grade, does that mean you think there would've been a social and emotional toll? Just curious.
I'm all for this practice. I can remember being bored out of my mind especially in first grade, when my teacher would test us on the same 100 vocabulary words each week and would not give me harder material. I was devouring Roald Dahl and Harry Potter while we were supposed to be reading "easy readers" (Sally walked the dog. Sally was happy. etc). The school wouldn't accelerate me past first grade, so I ended up moving to a private school where I eventually skipped third grade. I've always been tall for my age, so perhaps that helps, but I only benefited from this skipping. I was actually recommended to skip eighth grade to move to high school, but my parents decided not to for social reasons (which I only partly agree with). Now I'm in my junior year of high school and still, I find I understand the work much faster than my friends do. Whenever people have problems with their homework/tests they inevitably come to me since I apparently have "all the right answers". I still find schoolwork rather easy and, despite being a year younger than everyone else in my class and the fact I attended a very poor middle school (not part of the public system) I'm at the top of my class.
My teachers joined together during seventh grade and told my parents they thought it was best if I skipped a grade. I ended up skipping eighth grade and really felt I did not miss anything. I hated the slow pace and shallow depth of material covered in junior high. It was really not until college and grad school that I finally felt that classroom material was worth spending time on.
Two side notes, though. First, my parents are both educators and fantastic advocates. Whenever school material was just not deep enough (before and after the "skip"), they found ways to challenge my learning at home, which ultimately was the biggest help for me as a gifted student. Second, I never was very socially inclined. I feel like skipping could be hard for students who care a lot about fitting in socially. It's important to remember that gifted students are whole humans (not just brains on legs), and it is important to realize that they can be affected by being socially out of place as much as being intellectually out of place.
Just my two cents.
I only skipped one grade which was the 4th , for me it was a good experience as then i had one person to compete with as far as grades , she was a hard worker and she is classified now as one of the 100 most powerful women( regarding a certain Race ), after a while I started getting bored again because of the repetition maybe or the low pace of the learning process .So I think skipping is good for some kids .
The problem where I come from is that there weren't any methods of follow up in terms of a one on one teaching or special classes for similar kids , or even orienting the parents of how to efficiently do that follow up . But I say it's okay right ( if you think laterally ) , there is a benefit from every situation .
I think it depends on the child, if the child is a confident child and strong in mind along with being smart enough to skip grades, then he/she should do so. Over all, the child should have a say in weather or not to skip. If it were me, i wouldn't want my parents, no matter how smart or caring they are, to decide for ME. If the child is gifted and smart, he/she should choose for themselves, even though the parent can disagree, i think it would be best as if the child him/herself had a say
My son just moved from second grade to third grade. The school has no clue what to do with him. He reads at a 9th grade reading level and he is seven. Children who are gifted are often more advanced than their age classmates and will do better in the next grade because they are more like equals to them. Your son is being asked by the teacher then there is a reason. What are his reading and math levels at, are they at 5th grade, or are they at 4th grade, or are they well beyond? This is what you need to know to make this decision. When my son started school they wanted to place him directly into 1st grade because he knew everything in kinder. But, I said no because he had not learned how to write yet. He had memorized all the letter sound and number but he could not write any of them. He knew all of the numbers as well. Now in 2nd grade his behavior became a serious problem when he started getting extremely bored in class. He was leaving the class because he knew the material already. Acting out became an every day event. Then they had him him third grade for part of the day, and his behavior really improved. He was engaged in the classroom.
You are right. its definitely very complex for the child as well as the parent of the child who seems to be helpless in engaging the child with challenges. I am facing this problem from the time my child was in pre-k. Now he is going to grade 4th this year.In grade 1 he was tested by the school and told that he can easily cross grade 5 ,but skipping that much is not healthy and skipping one grade is of no use as he will be bored again . He is the odd one in his class. He doesn't want anybody to notice him so he tries to hide his knowledge. He dreads going to school .
I would really appreciate if you would give me some insight in what to do next.
As a child, I was recommended by teachers 3 years to be advanced and my mother held me back. We had a dysfunctional family life (divorce, father died), so she thought it not best to add any additional stress. She also felt that as one of the smallest children in my regular peer class, I would be very insecure with older children. She was probably right, but ultimately, I skipped my senior year to go to college on an honor's program. While this was my choice and I am glad I did it, it saddened me to miss out on such an important year. I often look back and think it would have been better to skip an elementary grade.
Now I am full circle with my own child. She is very advanced and will get nothing out of the upcoming school year if she isn't advanced or I cannot spend a huge amount of time educating her myself. Unlike me, she is the tallest kid in her class, so I am not worried about that. Moreover, I think socially she will be much better off if she is advanced. She does not relate well to kids her own age. She is in a completely different developmental stage and enjoys playing with older children more. I want to pursue this earlier rather than later, as it seems the older the child is when he/she is advanced, the more negative consequences there will be. I am just trying to research the best way to approach this with the school.
It is definitely a complex issue, and, as a student who was started early (Kindergarten at 4) and skipped a grade (1st), I can tell you that there are some serious problems with skipping grades. The school initially proposed I be skipped from 1st to 5th, and I am thankful that they did not.
First, the problem is often not that the student has already mastered the material being taught, but that they learn the material more quickly. That is going to be a problem no matter how far you skip the student. Even in high school and at the Ivy League university I attended, I found that I was frequently bored, had to make very little effort to learn the material, and often spent more of my time teaching the material to my peers than learning it myself. Skipping the material altogether deprives your child of the opportunity to learn what is being taught (I still don't know the state capitals), though they may (or may not) pick it up in their later grades. Optimally, a grouping of the students by the rate at which they learn, or allowing them to progress through material more individually would solve these problems, but most school districts (particularly public schools like the ones I attended) will not be so flexible, and private school is not a feasible option for many parents.
Additionally, the social concern is a valid one. It may be less of an issue for girls, who I am led to believe mature faster than males, but given that social groups in grade school are often largely gender segregated, it may not be entirely alleviated. In my personal experience, I did not at the time perceive the disparity in social/interpersonal maturity, but when I look back at the interactions I had with my peers I have to laugh. In many situations I simply did not see or understand the intentions and motivations of my peers in the least as their motivators simply did not exist for me yet. This was less of a problem by the end of high school, but that is still about 10 years of being out of the loop.
Furthermore, as a student athlete (I was recruited and played DI soccer briefly), I can say that things would have been much easier for me if I'd had more time to develop as a player before college recruitment started.
That said, I'm not sure the public school system could have helped me anyways. When I joined MENSA at 12 (I liked doing their brain teasers), my IQ tested at over 149 (high enough that the test is inaccurate - though I didn't care enough to take the special high-range test). I didn't study for the LSAT (essentially a logic and reading comprehension exam) and made a 178, which is about the top 200 of 50,000 people who take it and attended a top 14 law school with a full scholarship. If your child is performing similarly, I would seek out a school environment that places him or her with similarly intelligent children if at all possible. I believe that being able to interact with peers like that would have given me significantly greater incentives to learn and perform better (as opposed to being disliked for doing well - by high school I never raised my hand for anything or ever gave answers in class as I quickly learned that doing so only made my peers disdainful).