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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).
I skipped a grade because I was bored out of my mind in school. It helped a bit, but it wasn't enough. To me sorting kids by age makes no sense. It also makes no sense when people say it will be difficult socially. It's not. I'm interested in connecting with people who share my passions, talents, and interests. They could be 8, 18, my age or 78 I don't care now and I didn't care then. I don't think it helps children socially when they are artificially placed with others their age. That's not life.
There are many schools (some are called democracy or freedom schools) where students come together by passion. Students learn to socialize across age and come together about topics of interest. Additionally there are many children who are unschooled who are free to learn and connect with people of all ages.
If we take down the artificial constructs of grouping by age and grade, this ceases to become a question. In it's place let socialization happen the way it should. People who care about similar things come together for real purposes to do what they care about. When students get to do real work they care about for real purposes, the socialization and learning take care of themselves.
I was born in 1984 and went to 2 different elementary schools in miami from 2nd through 5th grade. 3 days a week South Miami and the other 2 days a week Sunset Elementary to engage with other gifted students and do advanced tasks. while at south miami i "subject skipped" math and english. that was ridiculous and i wish i could have just stayed at one school and skipped a whole grade. i always did better than 85% of the class without even trying - which was probably why i skipped so much of high school.. I WISH MY PARENTS WOULD HAVE SKIPPED ME A GRADE!!!
My mom wants me to skip the 8th grade [I'm in the 7th grade] brcause with most of my work in class I am honest to god bored. While other students are reading Percy Jackson and the lightning thief [its a great book] I amd reading David Copperfield or the Scarlet Letter. Math isnt my best subject but I am in all extended classes including math so it isnt a big problem. I dont know if I want to go to high school so soon, because whileI may be mature enough to handle it i dont know if I want to really move on for the fear of not understanding the material. I have alot of upperclassmen friends, and school is super easy but lets be honest, Im not lazy but and I enjoy a challenge but high school math freaks me out.
Thank you so much say that. You took everything in my thought and make it a voice for me. I just decided to place my son back into his kindergarten class after his first grade teach made it such a big issues about the socialization and that my son is not yet mature enough eventhough he reading is about first grade level and has S+'s in all the academic area. I feel like the teacher was not doing her part in working with my son.
As a person who went through first grade in two weeks and entered second grade because I desired to learn cursive writing early, the act of being skipped went unnoticed by me until I entered high school. When I was a junior, I felt much more comfortable with the sophomores or seniors, not with the juniors. In fact, at one point I became so disenchanted with those in my grade, that I stopped speaking to them for a month. I felt completely out of sync with them.
I feel that skipping grades might be a positive things to do, but it should be done only if a student is given counseling to understand the adverse feelings within themselves that might be encountered.
In addition, I believe that parents should wait to consider advancing a child grades until a child is older and can have input in the matter. I believe that the child should be on a level where they can exercise a sound level of maturity and be able to outweigh the pros and cons of skipping ahead a grade or more.
I have raised my children to be very open minded and to speak up about what they think will either benefit, or hurt them, in the long run.
My daughter is 12 years old and very gifted. She is currently in the 7th grade, with her peer group. To give you an idea of her current academic level, the child will come over and help me with a math problem. Currently, I am taking Statistics and Discrete Mathematics, as I am completing my BA in Computer Science.
As well, she reads on a college level or beyond. Currently she is a straight A student ( Even after missing over a week of school due to illness).
The point here, is that I have let her choose where she wants to be. She is happy with her peer group and is developing on a NORMAL emotional level. Does she get bored? Yes sometimes she does. But NORMAL children get bored as well at some point or another.
One can not always be entertained in life. This just prepares the child for life as an adult. If they learn how to handle the boring moments as a child, chances are they will be able to handle those moments when they arise in adulthood.
Keeping her where she is most comfortable is what I believe is the most important. The result of letting her choose?
I have a very bright little girl that is stable in her surroundings. She has friends and is enjoying school, and loves going. She does not struggle to maintain a grade, and she is extremely happy.
Listen to the kids, don't make the choice for them.