Skipping a Grade

Updated on January 22, 2012
S.B. asks from North Ridgeville, OH
53 answers

I have posted on here before about my son and the situation I was having with him and school, now some new developments have brought me back to get some more information. We have been told since he was three that he was a very bright boy, he is now 6 1/2. Back in Oct/Nov we had a meeting with the principal (thank you!), his teacher and the gifted teacher to discuss what we could do for him. They told us that they don't test kids until the 2nd grade and that it wouldn't prove anything if he was tested because they know he was a smart kid. Well we, on our own, went and had him tested (IQ and academics), we were very surprised to say the least. He tested higher than we had thought. We went to the schools and shared our findings with them and just now they seem to want to work with us. My question is this....has anyone skipped their child a grade level? Did you regret it? Were you happy with your decision? He would finish up 1st grade and then go to 3rd grade. They start a gifted program when in 3rd grade and so he would be able to get those resources. We have a meeting with intervention program in 2 weeks and I was just trying to get as much information and feed back before I go in. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I am just trying to do what is best for my son.

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So What Happened?

WOW, when I wrote this request I was hoping that I could get some information for a lot of different sides. I couldn't have imagined that I would have had this many responses. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and thoughts...I appreciate every one of them. I think that after reading all of your responses and sharing them with my husband we are not going to push him to skip a grade but rather be more active in making sure that the school does their job in offering him the enrichments in his class. Thank you again for helping us with making a very difficult decision. I know that I will always second guess myself, but I will just have to trust the fact that I am doing what I feel is the best thing for him and I am making this decision with love. Thank you!!!! Please feel free to keep the advice coming!!!

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H.B.

answers from Cleveland on

I would not push him! He is super smart, that's great... Is he EMOTIONALLY ready to be in a grade where EVERYONE is bigger than him, older than him, and WILL make fun of him! Kids are cruel. Unless you are placing him in a school designed for his advanced capabilities, just pushing him forward in public school is going to set him apart for teasing and bullying. Though not right, it is a fact. He is way to young to have to deal with that. I would wait on advancing him. Let him get a good, firm foundation in school, with friends his age, and maybe put him in an academic program after school, or something a little more challenging, for more mental stimulation. By pushing him now, when so young, you will do more harm than good and could actually make him underachieve, because he wants to be like everyone else. He is only 6, let him play and be 6. Don't stop challenging him, just do it somewhere besides his classroom at school.

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D.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

In my experience, kids that are truly "gifted" generally get along better with those at their intelligence level, not necessarily their age level. I chose not to start my son early into school, mostly because of advice like you are receiving now. I wish that I had not listened. He has had to learn to "adjust" his expectations of what he will learn in classes; tolerate others who bully him because he's smarter; or else they always want to be in his group because they think they will get a good grade and he'll do all of the work. Fortunately, we've been able to supplement his education by allowing him to take online classes and participate in programs at a local university. Also, the school system started a self contained gifted class at his elementary school that was terrific.

Also, a friend of mine had a similar issue. Her son was one of the older kids in his grade level and he was extremely bright. By working with the school system, principal and teachers, he was able to transition by spending one semester in second grade and the next semester in third grade. This worked well and he is a successful middle schooler now.

At younger ages - pre-K through grade 2 - kids tend to make friends easily and don't get hung up on the social aspects that we adults make so much of. Whatever friends he may lose as a result of a grade skip will be more than made up for by new friends and more comfort in the classroom.

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J.R.

answers from Cleveland on

There is so much more to school than academics. He'll be in classes with kids that are at least one year (possibly almost 2 years) older than him. How will he do socially? How will he feel about being the last kid in his class to reach puberty or get a driver's license? If he plays sports, he may fall behind due to size or motor skills development.

The other consideration is that the academics are going to get progressively more difficult. Just because he's excelling in 1st grade doesn't necessarily mean he will breeze through 3rd grade (or 8th or 11th)...especially if he skips the fundamentals learned in 2nd grade. My daughter was borderline bored in 1st grade because she was an early reader. She is now in 3rd grade, though, and it's a little different story. Some subjects are still a breeze for her, but other subjects present a decent challenge for her.

I would personally wait another year or two, and see how things shake-out.

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K.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

I have no had this issue, but a friend of mine did. It was much like yours...early in their education. She chose not to put him ahead because he was already small in size for his age. It worked out well; the school allowed him to go to the next grade for math and science classes I believe. Then, as he got older, more advanced classes were offered, so he was able to stay in his class and still be challenged in his education.

Another idea is homeschooling. I have done this for 6 years and you can let the kids go at their own pace. It's just a thought. I had never thought about how the physical development might affect kids like that, but it worked out much better for my friend.

good luck!!

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L.A.

answers from Columbus on

Hi Setphanie. I'm not sure if this information will help you but it might. I had my IQ tested in first grade because the teacher thought I was very smart but had also noticed that I had trouble in a few areas. The tests showed that I had a very high IQ in multiple areas but was significantly lower than average in one area. It turns out that I was classified as gifted and learning disabled at the same time. By the time of Jr. High I didn't try in school anymore because I had learned that I was smart and could still get good grades without even doing the work. At the same time I would use the learning disability as a scapegoat for times when I didn't do well. Because of my experiences in school I have vowed never to label my child. By that I do not mean that I will not get him extra help or provide challenging work for him to do. In your situation I would ask if he is socially able to handle being with older children, I think that is what is most important. You can get him in clubs and extracurricular activities that can stimulate him without having to skip a grade. You could ask the teachers to provide him with assignments altered to his abilities so he doesn’t get bored in class. By the time he is in middle school he will be able to take higher level classes with older students anyway. Another thing to think about is when all the other boys start puberty and he maybe isn't to that point yet. How would skipping a grade affect his social life? Will he be cut from the team because all the other boys are taller? Those types of things are what seem silly to adults but really matter to kids.

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S.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi S., First, congratulatons and commiserations on having such a bright little boy. Having had the same experience with my own son, my oldest, and also many years of teaching experience, I have a good idea of the joys and problems you are facing now and will face in the future.
My own opionion is that it's really not best for your son to skip a grade. I am sure he would have no problem academically if you did so, but the social situation at school is very difficult for a boy who is much younger than his classsmates, sometimes even for the boy who is just small for his age with a summer birthday. And these problems grow in complexity and intensity when puberty arrives.
You want your child to be happy and successful. The way you do that is to offer him plenty of "enrichment" opportunities at home -- lots of books to look at it, free time to pursue his own interests without direction, and the assurance and comfort of your love and acceptance.
He will always be and "feel" different, because of his superior intelligence. Don't exacerbate his feeling of "otherness" by putting him in a milieu where he is unusual in other ways as well. If you do, his desire to be one of his peers is likely to send him in directions that are self-defeating.

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J.M.

answers from Dayton on

Hi S.,
WOW! You have received some awesome advice on here. I hope this will help you with your decision. I can't give advice from a mother's point of view because my oldest is in Kindergarten and is not gifted... just your average little girl. She is learning and thriving, though. As a teacher, however, I can say that social views DO matter. There are so many differnt aspects. I had a little girl in my class once who had been skipped a grade. At the elementary level, she did great in the grade above hers. In middle school she started to struggle with some of the content. In order to please her parents, and in order to avoid being dropped to the lower grade, she resorted to cheating. It was really a sad situation. There were just some academic areas that she wasn't prepared for. Also, she missed being with her age-appropriate friends. The kids her age were ready to do things a whole year before she was allowed. By the time she got together with friends her age she felt like a third wheel. She did well, in the end, but there were some issues that she struggled with. You will definitely have to weigh all the options and make a well-balanced choice.

Someone else suggested homeschooling. I couldn't agree more. I started homeschooling this year, also. I LOVE IT! It would be a great opportunity for you to challenge your son in the areas that he is ready. There are many enrichment programs he can participate in for the social aspect, but academically you will be in control.

I have a friend whose son does exceptionally well in reading. At his school they have an advanced reading program and he participates in that. Socially and emotionally, he would not do well with children in the next grade, so this has provided a wonderful opportunity for him.

Is there a private school that can offer a program better suited for him? Sometimes it is just a matter of finding the right curriculum (something a little more challenging). Keep in mind that schools have to teach to the masses and that is why not all schools can provide exceptional support for students like yours.

One other little thing... beware of labeling him "gifted." I know many people (adults now) who were in the "gifted" program in school. YES, they are smart/intelligent, but "gifted" adds a whole new set of responsibilities/pressure.

Good luck,
jm

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N.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

Alot of people have strong opinions about skipping grades, but remember, you have to consider your own child. I skipped kindergarten and the only reason it was a problem was that I was still bored no matter that I skipped because I learned things easily and no teacher bothered to try to challenge me. By the time I got to high school, I really didn't care about school anymore, because it was still boring to me, so skipping a grade just made me suffer through one less year of boredom. Also my parents treated me like I was too young for anything. My friends were allowed to do things and I wasn't, only because of my age. They never talked to me about it or considered anything but their age guidelines, even though I was in a unique situation, so that was tough too. But, my daughter was obviously in need of some extra challenge in school, and when her wonderful kindergarten teacher went through the channels to get her some resources, the only option presented to us by the public school was to skip 1st grade. Because of her maturity level, we decided to do it, because it meant one less year of boredom before she could enter the gifted class in grade four. She has had a few teachers who were willing to challenge her over the years, but not many. She is 16 now and a junior in the top 25 of her class. We have tried to relax and allow her to have friends, even if they are a little older, she really has always fit in with her classmates in her maturity so we haven't had any social problems because of her age. So things are working out ok for her. No matter what you decide, you will probably second guess yourself at some point too. But you just do the best you can with the information you have, and follow your instincts. I teach at a private school where we can challenge children appropriately because of our unique curriculum and small class sizes. We have allowed many gifted children to remain in their peer groups and work at a much higher level because they can and we don't hold them back academically whenever possible. Public schools just can't do that. There are some wonderful teachers who go above and beyond for their students, and you might get lucky. But you might also get the teacher who thinks everyone needs to be on the same page at the same time just because they are the same age. Good Luck! I know what you are going through because I agonized over this for weeks. You'll make the best decision for your family. Peace.

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M.R.

answers from Evansville on

My youngest daughter was "skipped" two grades. She was physically small for her age. This made her very small compared to her classmates. During the lower grades, it did not create many problems, however, when she reached highschool, it was a different story. She was still playing with Barbie dolls and her classmates were dating. She did not want them to know and had to hide the fact when they were over. She did not get her driver's license until the end of her senior year. Everyone was dating, but she could not and she felt she was outcast. She had several problems with adjustments during her highschool years because of her age. She started college at the age of 16 which also created social problems. There were not any acedemic problems, but the social adjustment were overwhelming. It may be different for boys, I can't say.
My son took college credit classes during his highschool years. When he graduated highschool, he almost had his associate degree. This worked out much better. In some school districts, they allow the child to work ahead of the grade but keep them with children that are thier same chonalogical age. That would be fine.
I would not put my daughter skip grades if I had it to do over. It might be different skipping just one grade and not two. I would fill their gifted program with lots of challenging activities and keep thier extra activties full, such as gymnastics, karote, scouts, musical lessons, and other good social challenging activities

Hope this helps
M.

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M.F.

answers from Cincinnati on

I have been a prek, first and second grade teacher for the past 11 years and I flinch when I think about the ideas that some parents have about "skipping" grades. Many people forget that children have to develop socially and emotionally and that the academics are only part of a much, much bigger picture. Pushing your 7 year old into a class of almost 9 year olds puts him at an awkward disadvantage socially, and even if you think that he "plays better with the older kids" (I have heard that many times before), it does not play out the way that you think it does in interactions in the classroom and on the playground. 9 year olds are different developmentally than 7 year olds and the gap may widen as he goes to school with children who are 13 and entering puberty and he is 11 and not. The gap widens again when he is 14 and cannot drive yet and his friends are 16 and are driving everywhere. He would be at the mercy of his friends (or his mother) to take him to social events and I know that I would not want my 14 year old to get in the car with a 16 year old new driver. Things like judgement, social skills and emotional well-being are not things that you can "skip". Not to mention, what is the advantage of graduating from high school at 16? So that he can work for 2 more years of his life? I know that I also would not want to send my 16 year old away to college.
My advice: work with the school to send home extra enrichment opportunities and let him stay with his peers -- keep on doing whatever enrichment you are doing at home as it is working -- he will be in 3rd grade before you know it and he will do fabulous in the gifted program (how fortunate you are that your school offers that service).
Parents that have children with Fall birthdays have to make the decision all the time as to whether to send their child to be the youngest in the class or the oldest in the class by waiting to send them for another year (I am one of those parents). I have known parents that have sent their children ahead that have regretted it, but I have never, ever known anyone to regret holding their child back - myself included.

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K.S.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hey S.-
You've received a lot of very good advice. I won't bore you with a repeat. Speaking as a teacher, I strongly agree with the comments about social skills. After all, although your son is extremely bright, you don't want him to miss the many life lessons that will carry him into the "real world". I was also thinking that (especially since you have data), that he might be able to be pulled from 2nd grade and attend the gifted program. I know that some school don't want to start new predicents, but it might be worth talking to the principal about. If they are not willing to accomodate you in that way, you might need to look at other schools. Good luck, and congratualtions on the wonderful news!

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J.H.

answers from Lafayette on

I am very lucky our school corp has a gift and talented program that start in the 2nd grade. Our son had to be tested and apply for the program. He was excepted, this nice thing about the program is that the students do not have to skip a grade. He was put in with 2nd grades from all over the city. It is a small class of 20 to 25 students. They did 3rd grade math and reading. I do not regret putting him in the program. He is currently in the 5th grade and is doing really well. There were some problems but most could have happened if he was in regular classes. I wish that all schools could have something like this so the kids would not have to skip a grade. It is nice to have them with kids their age. It is challenges them and helps develop socially which is all part of grade school.

I think your son would be ok. Good luck.

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L.Y.

answers from Cleveland on

As a teacher and mother of a very smart little girl, I would not suggest sending him ahead. You have to figure in social, emotional, gross and fine motor skills on top of the academics. I would suggest getting him into a multi-aged classroom. They have some in public schools depending on your school system. Otherwise, consider a Montessori school. In Montessori they 'follow the child' so that each child has an individual work plan that challenges them in areas they need challenging while also providing the socialization all children need. Your son would be in a classroom with 6-9 year olds and teachers are trained to meet each of the students individual needs without any consideration for 'grade level'. Find a local school and go and observe. Extra bonus, it is all hands on tactile learning!

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J.S.

answers from Terre Haute on

Hi,
We had a similar experience with our daughter. Her birthday is in Nov. and I tried to place her in a prekindergarten class and they moved her up to kindergarten because she could read and write. I wasn't concerned then but as she got into second and third grade socially it was hard for her but the teachers kept telling me she was fine. As the years have gone on she has done well academic wise but she is a year younger than everyone else and her maturity level is not with her classmates. She is a very smart little girl but I wish I held her back. Kids can be mean and when there is a young one in the bunch that's the kid they usually pick on. She is still a straight "A" student but when it comes to her work study habits and social skills she is just about a year behind. Its hard once they get older to hold them back a grade because then everyone knows. If your son is doing good in the grade he is in now I would keep him with kids his own age and get him involved with extra credit stuff instead of moving him up. GOOD LUCK.

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J.C.

answers from Cincinnati on

All of my children, that being 4-3 girls and 1 boy, skipped a grade when starting school. I had worked with them at home and all were reading before they begain. The first three never went to preschool or even Kindergarten but I kept them home until they were 7. The school they went to had multigrades in one classroom so they were exposed to both first and second grades at the same time. So after trhe first year they went on to the next classroom where 3rd and 4th were taught. My last daughter was 5 when she started Kindergarten and again was in a classroom where K-1 and 2 were together. She was also a avid reader and they put her in the 2nd grade the next year. My only regret with her was that she seem to miss out on the basic math skills and has struggled with it ever since and now she is in the 10th grade.
I blame myself for letting her start so much earlier than the others but I had to go to work (at the school) for added income. If you decide to let him skip just make sure he has all the basics down pat before letting him move on. I'm sure he can test out to prove that.

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K.J.

answers from Dayton on

S.,
I skipped a grade as a child. I always did fine academically but I think socially it was more challenging for me. No lasting repercussions...though I would say as I've gotten older (I'm 45 now)I realize that I heard so much about being "smart" that I think I'm smarter than I am! Do some reading on Emotional Intelligence and success in life...IQ is important, but so are many other factors in life. That said, make sure your bright son has opportunities to learn and grow. Public schools have a tough time teaching to slow or quick learners. So much is required of the teachers that those kids can get left in the dust.
K.

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K.S.

answers from Terre Haute on

You had a meeting with the principal, not the principle.

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C.C.

answers from Cincinnati on

Move to a school district where they offer gifted services in 2nd grade. Mason does.

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L.L.

answers from Cleveland on

I had a very bright child that was on the border of the entrance date at school. I was able to choose to send her or wait. I chose to wait. She was also gifted and continued through the gifted programs in school. I saw many people take this very seriously and think that they had to do something to "challenge" their child. They took them to private schools etc. These kids were unhappy and wanted to return. I decided to keep my child where she was with her peers. I have never regretted this.

She was happy, received about 12 varsity letters in 4 sports, was the producer on the television station, joined clubs, band and still became the valedictorian. I don't think she would have accomplished any of this had I pushed her ahead which was another option.

I suggest encouraging your kids in their studies, leaving the potential speeches out of their life and let them enjoy being a kid. You never get to go back and "redo" your childhood.

Good Luck and enjoy the ride! Raising a bright child is fun and often very challenging.

L.

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J.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I definitely personally would NOT do this. I have a 4 year old, who's reading at a 2nd grade level. I have been told that he will have all kinds of options once he starts school, but I will not ever let him skip. Here's why. He may be smarter than other kids, but you can't fool mother nature. He's still going to emotionally be one year behind his peers. He will probably be excluded from a lot of the kids because they will look at him as being a "baby". I'm sure you remember how mean kids can be. There are always many many ways to keep gifted children from being bored. When they're home, stimulate them. One thing I do with my son, is I bought him a puzzle of the United States, and he was able to learn all about the states and capitals. Once he had all the capitals memorized, I bought some placemats that had all our presidents, that way he would have something new to learn. You don't want him to end up not enjoying school for any reason. Socially, if he doesn't like something, that would really affect him. If he gets made fun of because he's smart and in a higher grade than his old classmates, you never know, he may start trying to pretend he's not so smart by purposely getting some things wrong on homework and stuff. Kids live in the moment, and they tend to try and find solutions for immediate problems, instead of looking at the big picture. My daughter just received eligibility for a gifted program at Aboite Elementary, and I declined strictly for the fact that she LOVES school right now, and I don't want to do anything to disrupt that at such a young age. It's something to think about with your son, that's for sure, but don't just think of the academics of it, put yourself in his shoes, and remember what it was like being young. I would've been TERRIFIED being thrown into a different class with older kids, and be torn away from friends I was used to. One other thing, that could make it more personal for you, my mom actually skipped a grade when she was in school, and she said she totally wished her parents hadn't made her do it. Her reasoning is (I called her before I wrote this so I could get it right), she said that she was always "the last". She was the last one to become a teenager, the last one to hit puberty, the last one to get her license, and she was the youngest one at graduation. She always felt like an outsider through school, strictly because of her always being "the youngest".

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T.O.

answers from Dayton on

Hi S.,
I am a 36 yr old mother of a 12 yr old girl and 6 yr old boy. My son is in first grade but started K when he was still 4. He just turned 6 in Nov and I was very concerned to start him early. Where we lived before here (just moved here last spring) the age cutoff was a lot later than most schools so he was allowed to start when he did but was still the youngest cuz he met the cutoff by less than a week. He has done very well in school and is still smarter than most of the kids in his class as well. I wouldn't be too concerned about bumping your son up a grade. I look at it as they would be bored if they are more advanced for their age. The big concern I had was wondering if later on in the high school years, they might feel strange being younger than the rest of the kids in their class. You know, girlfriends, driving, etc. However, I think they will benefit by getting out of school at a younger age and have more of a challenge and enjoy school instead of being too far ahead and be bored. Just my opinion, for what it is worth.

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J.J.

answers from Indianapolis on

Hi S.,

I won't repeat everything the others have said (for your sake) but I'll share my experience. I (similar to Colette) was moved up a grade since I could read in K... which in 1975 was a big deal! Now it is expected... but, I too went 2nd semester in first and was moved up to 2nd grade then. My issues were never academic, just the fact that I was a late bloomer to begin with. 5th-8th were rough. My hormones were not 'in sync' with my friends, nor my body. I was not able to drive til jr. year, and not drink til sr. year of college. (Now, those are either a blessing or a curse, however you plan to deal with your son's social life!) I can't say I'm sorry it happened. I am a young 37 and always had that 'extra year' of adulthood... but of course I wonder how it would have played out otherwise. Go with your gut... utilize gifted and enrichment programs (chess club, science club, whatever's available) to the full extent you can, regardless of what you end up doing. Work with him at home. Get him involved in music, art and thinking creatively. (Does he like sports? Even if it's not on your radar now, one more thing to think about... I know my son is small for his grade and it hurts.)

GOOD LUCK!

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B.A.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Hey S.
I was reading through your post and had to give a couple comments......
When I was about your son's age my parents were told that the school district wanted me to skip a grade--we decided against it because of peer issues--I would be leaving my friends and when I got in to high school I would be so young and immature also, I would not even beable to drive by the time I graduated! I believe for a boy, as he gets older and matures, the age difference would bother him. Totally different subject now....have you ever thought about homeschooling your son, at least for now until you can get some idea of what he is really able to do...I started homeschooling my kids this year and LOVE it. One of my children is a very bright child and I am able to really see what he can do now that he is out of the rules and restrictions of school...JUST A THOUGHT
Good luck,
Elizabeth

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R.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

I had the identical issue with my daughter. She was far ahead of the other kids in the class - in first grade, the did end up putting her "at the special table" to read books that were more on her level - it made her feel uncomfortable and different from the other kids - I ended up going in and volunteering during that special reading time (there were one or two others in the school in the same situation) and that seemed to help.

By third grade, she was moved into the gifted/talented program and was in classes with 4th graders - that brought about it's own issues (hearing things that I had hoped would wait until she was older) - but in our particular case, it was a necessity.

Had I left her in regular classes, she would have gotten into trouble chatting with the other kids, etc, since she was not being challenged and was bored in her classes. She is now in junior high and continues in the advanced curriculum - and is thriving there, I might add. Fortunately, she has been joined by other students so she no longer feels "different". We are lucky that we have a great program for gifted kids on our schools - she is in 7th grade and has been challenged with high school level courses.

My goal has always been to raise a well-rounded child and I think the school has done a great job. So, my suggestion would be to see what the school has to offer with regard to a gifted program - moving her up an entire grade was not my first choice especially when she was younger due to the things that she might have been exposed to that I thought might be age-inappropriate.

Hope this helps!

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C.B.

answers from Columbus on

S., I find your letter very interesting. I too had a gifted son. He was tested in the third grade. Unfortunate for us, he tested out and his mentality was scored to be in the upper 16th percentile in the nation, but his academics were much lower. We struggle all thru school. He was bored out of his skull and conventional learning was tough. He could tie himself up in knots and never leave his chair. My concern for your son is his social skills. If his academics and his mentality are equally matched, are his social skills? Skipping grades may be very good to excel his learning and end his boredom and frustration. He has been in school with his classmates for two years, how do you feel he will adjust to a whole new group of kids. Does he have a best buddy in his class and will he fit in with these third graders. He will probably be a lot smaller and there is always that bullying factor. I would ask your son, how do you feel about leaving your classmates? Advantages would be if this child becomes college bound, he will graduate earlier, he can actually take college classes while in highschool and Probably have his bachelors degree by the time he is 19 years old. I would reseach support groups for gifted children and find the pros and cons. then I would ask my son. That adjustment from 1st to 3rd could be socially challenging and create an adverse environment, not to mention the psychological adjustments. Becareful when you google support groups for gifted children, some site do mrdd as gifted. C.

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E.W.

answers from Cleveland on

If you decide to skip a grade please do not do it at a typical public school. Public schools can barely handle the kids they have. A good private academic school will be able to best handle your child's education and thew challenges that might occur. Boys typically are not mature enough to handle the social demands of their age. Research has shown that boys are 2 years behind girls when they start school. A book that talks about this is Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax. Parents cannot make decisions on IQ anymore. There is also EQ, emotional intelligence. Please do your homework and consider the emotional, social, mental, physical, spiritual and intelleigent needs of your child.

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H.F.

answers from Lafayette on

It was suggested to my mother--by my teachers and administrators in elementary school--that I skip the 1st grade. She decided not to do it for a number of reasons--I was always the youngest kid in my class, and I had spent a lot of time w/ the group of kids in my grade; we're from a small town. I was angry with her decision at the time, but now I am grateful for it. I graduated when I was 17, would have been 16 had I skipped, and I think that 16 would have been too young for me to go off to college. I'm glad I had that extra year to mature. I partied like a rock star during my senior year, with the kids my own age, and went off to college with all of that out of my system, ready to begin my new life with a new focus and a fury. Sometimes I think, if I had skipped a grade, I'd have been okay. There's just no real way to tell.

I'm not telling you all this so that you don't do it. I'm just giving you another perspective, my own. I'm sure you will do what's best for you and your son. Nonetheless, please keep us posted.

Good luck to you and yours. Be blessed.

--H.

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S.P.

answers from Cleveland on

I skipped 2nd grade because we moved from overseas to the US and I tested in at a higher level. I don't think the academics are the problem, although he may seek more outside oppertunities from learning to supplement the school work (depending on how challenging that is). The social aspect is a little different. How mature is he? socialized? his confidence level? as I got older my school peers knew me and treated me as an equal but outside of school I was grouped with younger kids/teens although my mental capacity was higher...I graduated at barely 17 (birthday in March) and was a little intimidaterd at college since I wasn't even an "adult". I would seek more challenging schools with like children of the same age.

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K.S.

answers from Cleveland on

Dear S.,
I too was a stay at home mom with 4 children. My second son was also tested as gifted. We made the decision early on that life is not all about education. Our son needed help with social skills too. We let him go through school with his age appropriate class. He was going to high school for math and I picked him up everyday and took him from 5th grade on so he would be challenged academically. He played basketball, baseball and football all through high school.
He also plays the piano and took lessons from 2 different teachers every week. He won many honors for academics but the award that meant the most to him was his football honors. His reasoning was the academics were easy and came naturally but he worked hard for the football recognition!He was valedictorian of his high school class and class president 2 years.
He went to Rice University for undergrad and finished in 3 and 1/2 years. He is in his last semester at the School of Law at Northwern University. He is happily married to a beautiful gifted young lady. For him and for us we made the right decision to keep him with his age group. I hope that helps a little.

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R.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

I agree with these moms! Keep him where he is. I have an adult friend who went to college at 16. He feels like he really missed out on being a kid.

My oldest is in second grade and doing well beyond he grade level. Most schools have a high ability program and if not, the teachers are usually good about finding extra work for him to do. Of course, you could always find other programs to supplement his learning as well.

Especially with boys, the social aspect of school and maturation is really important that they are age appropriate.

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A.H.

answers from Columbus on

Skipping a grade is a big decision. Until this school year, I have taught 2nd and 3rd grade in Columbus. While I don't doubt that your child is gifted, there is a substantial step up in skills required for 3rd grade. For example, in Math, 1st graders are learning basic addition, subtraction, and are introduced to basic concepts of multiplying using repeated division. By the time the kids are in 3rd grade, they need to know how to multiply and divide 2 digit by 1 digit numbers and beyond. Is there any way your child could stay with his age peers and be pulled out to work with the gifted and talented teacher? If you would like to talk more about this, feel free to write me back directly--I would love to talk to you.

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A.B.

answers from Cleveland on

Proceed with caution! It is one thing to challenge your child academically and another to place them in social situations they can not handle. The chances of that at this age are low, however, what are you going to do when in 8th grade his class mates are hanging out at the mall, going to movies and other social outlets? Have check into Mensa? It's an organization for those that blow the rest of us away academically. This would be a way to challenge your child but keep him with a grade appropriate group of kids.

Good Luck!

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L.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

S., I feel your pain. This is a hard decision. My husband and I have the same issue with my son. After LOTS of praying, research and consultation with my mother (a kindergarten teacher) we have chosen to keep him with his peers. Here is our reasoning: First of all he's a boy, and boys mature slower than girls. Even if he seems more mature for his age now- that will come back to bite him as he gets older. Secondly, kids seem to be growing up WAY too fast these days. By having him skip a grade that just forces him to be older than he is and again, in jr high/high school he just might not be ready for what others in his grade are doing. How is he going to take a girl out when all his other classmates can drive her and he is still a year away?

An option we have considered as he gets into upper elementary school is that for the subjects he excels at to swtich to another classroom just for those subjects.

Anyway... you know your son. I just urge you to think of the big picture. We have chosen to work closely with my son's teachers to make sure that he is challenged; he is in an advanced reading and math group. I was a teacher in a past life (before children) and work on things with him at home as well.

I wish you luck in this hard decision.

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T.M.

answers from Terre Haute on

When I was young, school wanted to skip me a grade too. I remember being very bored with school. My mom didn't let them move me up. I have always wondered if I might have shown more interest in school if she had. I always wonder if life would have turned out differently if she had shown that faith in me.
I now have a son in 3rd grade. Something to consider here is the 3rd grade work. It is very difficult. Kind of a transition point, at least at our school it is. My son has already learned fractions, had to do his first book report, learned about slavery, etc. If you feel your son is ready and he is willing to move on by all means, go for it. You might ask the school what happens if he can't keep up or needs more direction. After all, he wouldn't have the same preparation as the other kids. Also, if you decide to move up, I would talk to the 3rd grade teachers and get some ideas of their activities. Perhaps beginning some of this during the summer would help a lot. He would at least have a background in it.
Celebrate your sons abilities! Make sure that he feels good about going on to 3rd. Good luck! Let us know what you decide to do. Shannon G.

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J.E.

answers from Indianapolis on

I too would highly consider what this might do for him socially. If there are any concerns about him missing his friends, or him not being socially mature enough to deal with being a grade ahead, I would wait. The maturity issue isn't indicative of ability - boys just tend to have a harder time with it. It can cause bigger problems with behavior than you would gain academically. He may be fine, so it is you as mom who knows best. My son, who will be 9 this month, had the same issues. Academically, he is gifted, and would get bored with school. But we knew pushing him ahead a grade would not work socially at all. So, he is in a gifted program with the school, which he absolutely loves. It gives him what he needs mentally and some freedom that he doesn't have in regular class. He also has begun a math group at school that meets at the same time as the others, but works on advanced math skills in addition to what his class is doing. He is able to stay with his friends and age level, but has the academic challenges he needs. His behavior from boredom has improved because his mind is kept busier. He also loves doing the AR reading program at the school which rewards points earned from reading books and testing on them. He has already passed and doubled the top earning level, but still loves the challenge of getting as many points as he can, so that is another great way to keep him going. Talk to your school and see what advanced programs he can be involved in if you think he needs to stay in his grade but still receive the challenge. I would say that my son didn't get the benefit of these programs until he started 3rd grade this year. I really wish they could have started them sooner!!

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M.G.

answers from Cleveland on

You should try to find an article that was in Time Magazine a few months ago. (Aug. 2007/available on time.com search the title) In fact it was the cover story called Failing our Geniuses. Studies have shown that the children that have been skipped grades have a higher probability of going in to highly skilled proffessional jobs (i.e. doctors) than the kids that weren't skipped. The kids that weren't skipped have a higher likelyhood of dropping out of highschool out of pure bordem. I kept this article because of the same situation with our 7 year old. We will be moving soon and we are considering trying to skip him too. He reads at about an eight grade level and is advanced in all of his other work too. We have been lucky though, our first meeting with the principle and teachers was in Oct. of his kindergarten year.

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H.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi, S. --

I was an early reader and bored in Kindergarten to the extent that it worried my parents. So, sometime, midway through the first semester, they managed to convince the school principal to skip me ahead into 1st grade. It was a tough sell, and I remember having to be interviewed by him. I was still bored in first grade, but, eventually, I was challenged again... in about 3rd grade.

Anyway, skipping ahead was absolutely the right decision for me. I never had trouble in school, always excelled, and had lots of success socially. I was everythign from school newspaper editor-in-chief to class president to Prom queen, and did all honors and AP coursework and went into 2 honors programs in college, graduated with honors.

So, for me, there was no downside. I didn't have any trouble fitting in with my peers -- any more than any other kid does. My workaholic ways began early, so maybe, if there's anything I would change, I'd go back and add a bit more fun into my college years -- which were quite stressful. But, hey, that was me challenging myself and had nothing to do with skipping a grade.

I'd say, if your son is clearly gifted, don't slow him down! Let him move ahead a grade. He may need a little help from you acclimating to a bit of an older norm, but I imagine you'll be sensitive and aware of that and be ready to help bridge the gap, if there is one. Kids have a great way of responding to challenge, and they are very flexible and adaptive, especially at the early ages before they become self-conscious. I was most often the youngest kid in my grade, but that was never an issue for me. In fact, in high school, I met a girl who had actually skipped 2 grades and was a year younger than I was, in the same grade. She went on to be an opthamologist and was in the same honors programs as I was in in College.

So, there's my testimonial. I say Go For It! I am considering this very question for my daughter, who's 3 and extremely bright. With a December birthday, she's past the cutoff for entering kindergarten at 4, but hopefully we'll get to skip her ahead if she tests at a higher level.

Best of luck with your decision!
H.

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S.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

He's so young, he could have a really hard time with kids older than him. Is he having trouble in his current situation? If he's not challanged and his work is suffering, that's one thing, but if he's thriving and has friends, it's better to leave him where he is for now and look at skipping him from 3 to 5 so that he's not going lower- to upper-elementary.

Good Luck and keep us updated :)

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D.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

When I was in 3rd grade a friend of mine skipped 3rd grade and went to 4th. She and all her friends hated it. Half way through the school year her parents brought her back to the 3rd grade.
She did go through the first half of 4th grade twice, but she and her parents didn't seem to mind.
She along with about 20 other people in my class all graduated #1 in our class. The ONLY speech I remember from graduation was hers. She talked about being moved ahead and it was a very emotional speech. She just recently graduated college and has an EXCELLENT career. She didn't move ahead in grades and still turned out very successful!

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K.B.

answers from Toledo on

I would also look at his maturity, before skipping a grade. You might want to watch the third graders and see if he matches their maturity level. My son is gifted also. I made him wait a year to go to school anyway. He wasn't ready, because of his maturity level. I am glad that I did. He had a great group of kids in his class and still seems to have even though we have moved twice. My adopted daughter is a year ahead of him and I didn't like her class. That would have been the class my son would have been in. He may be a little bored before second grade. If he doesn't get along with his peers, you will have problems. They will just make life miserable for him. I saw it with my daughter, who I should have held back. She didn't get along with her peers. It was very hard for her. She was and is very immature. She is now 20 and still has problems with her self esteem, because of my neglegt in letting her go when she wasn't emotionally ready. Don't be in such a hurry for him to grow up. He will be grown before you know it. You might put him in some type of classes outside of school. Look around and you wlll find some. In Perrysburg, they have all kinds of classes that are in the evenings after school. Ask your school and see if they can recommend something. I used to get fliers in the mail or from school. I think it was the Perrysburg Arts organization. I just can't remember. My kids have been out of elementary for awhile.

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J.A.

answers from Cincinnati on

I am a gifted specialist. Have your school administer the Iowa Acceleration Scale. It assesses academics, family situation, emotional considerations, etc. for an informed decision about your WHOLE child. Also, google the book A Nation Deceived. You can order it for free. It is 2 books - 1 is the summary of research about all of the different types (16) of acceleration. The second book is the actual research about acceleration. In the US, acceleration is an underused, potentially VERY successful method of helping gifed children. I was accelerated in 3 different ways in school, and my son has been accelerated by early entering kindergarten. Don't let the school ignore the possibility. Also, ask the school for a copy of their acceleration policy. By Ohio law, they must have 1 in place. If they don't, contact the Ohio Department of Education.
You might try the web sites hoagies.com, nagc.com (org?), oagc.com (org?). Also, you can look into the Super Saturday program - supersaturday.org. Above all, ADVOCATE for your child. Be the squeaky wheel. Gifted children tend to learn less in school than any other students, especially with No Child Left Behind's emphasis on getting lower students UP to passing. Good luck!
J. A.

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S.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

Dear S.,
This is a difficult question.
We skipped 4 of our 6 children, one boy, and 3 girls.
The boy was in pre-school when we put him in 2nd semester kindergarten.
Our oldest daughter skipped 7th, another daughter skipped Kg, and the youngest did second and third grade in the same school year.
All of them went to academically talented classes in 5th and 6th grades and so on.
At that time we did not have AT classes available in all the grades.
I do not regret any but the youngest, and I think that is because she was young to begin with and the baby of the family.
I did way too much for her at the time (just the mother/baby dynamics), and (following in the footsteps of her older siblings)it was hard on her.
She is the only one who has not achieved a college degree.
I have a grandson now who is in the 2nd grade and the school has established Literature study for a select group which I think is great, and I wish your son could go into at least something like that or into AT classes right now instead of skipping a grade.
If he does skip, I would advise that it be in a different school, so that his classmates would not be inclined to tease him about it (which they will).
He does not need that.
I would take advantage of any opportunities (camps, workshops etc.) that you may hear about in your area to contribute to his enrichment.
Encourage him to read voraciously and to learn about everything that he can....and, in a way, you and your family can learn along with him.
Trust your instincts.

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J.A.

answers from Norfolk on

I skipped a grade in school and honestly wish I hadn't. Although the academics of it were challenging and that's a good thing, to social part of it was challenging as well. Especially upon reaching the middle school to jr. high level. I was the youngest (by far) in my grade, therefore emotionally less mature and less able to handle some of the social pressures of the age.
By the time I reached highschool I had made fast friends with many kids, however they were still older in age and ready to do many things that I wasn't and shouldn't have been.
Personally I wish that my parents had found other ways to challenge me from home and then had allowed me to enter the 'gifted' program once I was at the right age.
You know your son, but don't feel like he'll be left behind if he stays with is own age group, there are many ways to challenge and 'gifted' child that aren't through the schools.
Also ... be careful of labeling him 'gifted' ... though we think of it as a positive label, it's still a label and there are always stigma's attached. My parents made a concerted effort to be sure I knew I was "working hard at my school" and thats why I was in more "challenging" classes ... not "gifted" as they were called by the school. That helped me a lot to remember that even though I was smart - I still had to always work hard to do better. It also took some pressure off if I did have trouble with something - my parents thought it was good if I had trouble because that meant they were really challenging me and I always worked harder to accomplish my goals because of it.
BEST OF LUCK!!

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C.T.

answers from Lafayette on

I skipped a grade when I was young. I went to kindergarten for a few months and then started going half day to 1st grade, then to 2nd after that 1st year. I was always the youngest in my class but I really didn't mind. The only problem I see is if he is really close with friends and would feel like the odd man out in 3rd grade. Socially, I think it's different for a boy to be younger than everyone else too. I think if you don't move him up - you need to get him into a more advanced curriculum (either at home or private school) so he doesn't get bored and start acting out. I don't think you should make a big deal about it to him though. Obviously you should encourage his intelligence and tell him he's smart, but you certainly don't want him going into 3rd grade making a huge deal about how smart he is and then getting bullied all the time. Just remember how mean kids can be and how they will take anything they can and turn it into something to be made fun of (which can be a detriment to young child - especially if maturity wise he's not ready to be in the third grade).

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S.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi S.,

I do not have a child who skipped a grade, but I can give you some perspective from the eyes of a child who skipped a grade, as my husband skipped a grade when he was young, pursely from some social perspective.

He has always told me that when he was 15 and all of his classmates were 16, he felt very left out being the only person not able to drive; especially as he began dating etc. and would have to rely on his parents to drive him on dates when his peers were more mobile.

In college, he also felt the isolation a bit, being the one kid in the group of his friends who was not able to gain access to the bars. Not for the drinking aspect; mainly the social aspect, as that's where most kids went in college to socialize.

He and I have talked about what we would do should our children be faced with the same options of skipping a grade, and I always hope that my children will be confident and value the academic reasons for skipping a grade above anything that sounds as trivial as the above, but I always have to remind myself that peer pressure is strong and social status etc. among kids, especially in critical character-testing times as high school and college. I myself haven't reached an answer on what I would do whould we be faced with this. It's just an additional thing to consider.

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P.H.

answers from Cleveland on

I also had two gifted childred. My oldest started school at a very early 5 years old. Most of the mothers in his grade waited to send thier children to school until after they were six. Keep in mind that if this is the same in your area, he will be about 3 years younger than everyone in his class, I don't know and it is really had to tell at this age if they are into sports or anything else physical. If they are there is a BIG diffrence when it comes to the size of a fifteen year old compaired to an eighteen year old. Just my thought, Kind of went throught the same thing with my son, however he was really tall for his younger age and was not into sports where size mattered (football) only strenght and speed (soccer) and he did really well. He is now graduating college with a chemical engineering degree and doing very well. My suggestion, don't push it. They have plenty of time to grow up.

In high school, he will have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement classes or in his juniour or senior year attend college in what we call here a post secondary situation. My daughter did that and only took three years to get her education degree in college after high school.

Good Luck with what ever you decide.

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M.B.

answers from Cleveland on

Our son just skipped 2nd grade and went to third. We met with the principal, his first grade teacher, his 3rd grade teacher, and the G&T Director. There is a test out called the Iowa Acceleration Test, which will be a good indicator. We all agreed he would have to score "excellent" on it in order to skip and he did. He is finally in a class with kids who get his sense of humor, who can play his games, who challenge him in a good way. Socially it was the best thing for him. But his teacher and the principal were also supportive. I would not have done it had I felt like they would resist. And many do because of this "social" issue. The Iowa test will also consider his maturity level. Don't let people discourage you. Bright kids need to be with their peers (intellectually, not just age) and they need to learn how to work. I knew if my son moved to 2nd, he would just always coast, never experience a challange, and as a college professor, I knew what that would mean.

We do make sure to keep our distance from his school work. I do not check his homework (except to see that it is done) and we let him find his way through it. I do not want the teachers to see something that isn't there, and if we helped a lot, then they wouldn't know how bright he is. Many parents get way too involved in their kid's schoolwork and it was tempting as he was transitioning into 3rd (there were bumps! mostly with homework), but we let him do it alone and now I feel confident that we made the right choice. More importantly, he is too.

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D.G.

answers from Columbus on

They did this to my younger Sister back in the 60's . They later found that she was so bright because everything I learned in school I came home and taught it to her.Being put with children older than herself gave her a very low self esteme and her maturity was very low compared to the rest of her class mates.She eventually was put back into the grade she was suppose to be in and flurished.For a while she was like a freak because of the advancement,she was smaller, younger etc.

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R.S.

answers from Mansfield on

Hi S.,
My name is R.. I'm from Toowoomba, Australia, I have relatives in Howard. I have a son in grade one at Toowoomba Grammar, a selective private school. Last year when Thomas was doing Prep (the year before grade one) he was doing sight words for grade three because he loved his reading and is very good at it, in the end the teachers were making up words to give him. My boy has Asperger's Syndrome, which can be confused as a gifted child. Thomas could do grade two work this year, but socially, he would suffer. Does your boy interact well with his school friends or does he seek out older children to talk with? Perhaps, and I mean perhaps he has Asperger which comes with a high IQ and I would not skip a grade instead work on his social ability.
Kind Regards
R.
[email protected]____.com

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K.W.

answers from Muncie on

I am in the same EXACT situation you are in. My daughter is also in first grade and extremely smart. Her reading and comprehension is at a late 4th grade level. Her teacher works really hard to try to keep up with her so she doesn't get bored. Our school offers gifted classes in 2nd grade but we have to move. I have two different schools in the new city that offer gt classes for her for next grade. The problem is that they only have so many openings and there is a risk that she won't get in. I am prepared to teach her at home instead of sending her to a regular school where she will become bore, irritated and lose her thirst for learning. I have read articles online about the horrible outcome of "sitting" on a bright child-making them sit and wait while the others get their work done. It was very frightening to read these things. My daughter was so bored in kindergarten that she cried daily. I will not do that to her again! My advice to you is to seek out the homeschooling options and keep him at school next year and then put him back in school in 3rd grade when he can enter the gifted program. There are a ton of homeschooling options available including internet homeschooling. Good luck and I'm there with you!

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C.S.

answers from Lima on

I haven't had this issue with my boyz as they are 4 and 6, and the oldest is actually struggling with kindegarten right now!!
BUT
I have some information from my own personal experience. I started kindegarten when I was 4, turned 5 that Sept., I too was "gifted" at the time, and went for two weeks in 2nd grade as normal. I was bored, restless, drawing on my papers, and even sleeping cuz I was SO bored. I knew everything already and started acting up cuz I was just, well bored. After those two weeks, I was moved into the 3rd grade and had some challenging work to do and was content.
As far as I remember, I really didn't have any issues with the move until closer to high school. I never really got behind and didn't struggle with learning, but the age thing really held me back at times.
Due to me starting early and skipping, I graduated high school at the age of 16. This means I couldn't drive till mid way thru my senior year, I couldn't hang out with the seniors and do the things they did cuz I was too "Young", so says my mom =)
I struggled with fitting in and ALWAYS being the "baby" and youngest in my class. The advantage was I had my associates degree at the age of 18. But I also feel now that I was forced to grow up WAY too early!!!

I hope this helps, please consider both sides of the equation. If he is bored and not being challenged and can handle third grade fluently, you may need to advance him.
Consider the future; however, and how he will be affected age and friend wise as he matures and gets to high school.
Please feel free to message if you want to talk about this further!!!

=) GOOD LUCK

C.

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N.J.

answers from Chicago on

Hi. I found your story very exciting. I need to know where to take my 4 year old for testing. She is already doing some 2nd grade work, can read, add, count to 100, read short story books and much more. I can already see that pre school and pre-k is beginning to slow her abilities, she already knows all they are teaching the rest of the class. I am fearing this that going to slow her down tremendously. please let me know where I can get her tested so I can show results to her school. Sincerely,N. Evansville,In.

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J.K.

answers from Mansfield on

I was a child who tested as "gifted" in kindergarten and was skipped ahead to first grade. I made terriffic grades, but, to be honest, I always felt a little insecure socially. I really wish I had been kept in the class with kids my own age.

Now I am a first grade teacher with 11 years experience. I can say first hand that kids really benefit from being with peers their own age. Quite often, kids who are gifted struggle more socially. The school work may be easy for your child, but I would encourage you to let him stay with his peers and build strong social skills. These are just as important in life as academics. Your child has his whole life to work at school things. I think you should let him be a kid as long as you can.

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