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Skip, double skip - kids who learn too fast

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
We had our parent/teacher conference with DD (7 - 2nd grade)'s teacher last night. Basically, we knew everything she said, but she brought up something we've considered (but not pushed for) since Katie was in Kindy - skipping. She pretty much asked why we haven't skipped her yet. She said she felt skipping K would be totally appropriate, but.... she wasn't sure it would solve our problem.

She said that K would do great in 4th grade next year... but she'd also do well in 5th or 6th or 7th... she's just very bright and a super-fast learner. So, while we could skip her to a higher grade level, if she continued to learn concepts much more quickly than other kids, she'd still be ahead and at risk of becoming bored.

Anyone else's kiddo in this position? Would you go ahead and skip anyway, knowing it wouldn't likely solve the problem (but might help some)? Or would you keep things the way they are and try to supplement her learning at home? Or something else?

I seriously don't know what to do. I really don't think "do nothing" is the right strategy, though.
post #2 of 28
Oh wow! Not an expert but my gut feeling would be to try skipping to 4th. If she needs another skip then she needs another skip. I would try to stay in the lower grades for social reasons (if that works for you) as long as possible so she has some time to adjust before pushing her even further ahead.

I would also really seek out some expert opinions on this since I think this could be one of those instances where having lots of top notch input would be very helpful.

V
post #3 of 28
We are not in this situation yet and may not face it, but as someone who should have been skipped in the lower grades and had to wait until teens, please skip her. At least to the 4th. Supplementing is not the same.
post #4 of 28
It is at least worth your time to have a meeting and discuss your options and how to handle your daughters education. I would certainly talk about skipping her a grade to begin with and have a plan in place for additional classroom enrichment as well.

Personally, I would take it a grade at a time. Of course realize that this advice is coming from someone who has skipped their son. My son is in 2nd grade this year after skipping first. There have been some challenges but I still feel we made the right decision for our child.

When we were trying to make our decision we got a copy of the "Iowa Acceleration Scale" through inter library loan. We ended up deciding that we didn't have enough test results to use the worksheets for our son. But we still found it to be a good resource and gave us alot to think about as we worked through our decision.
post #5 of 28
DD has officially skipped one grade (we didn't start her in school until 2nd grade, so there was no actual skip). I think she could easily be another grade ahead, but am uncomfortable with it for social reasons. She is in a full time gifted program so is working 2-3 years ahead of kids the same age in the mainstream curriculum. I don't think that she needs more than one more year of skipping. Since she will go to junior high next year, we will deal with getting her in more difficult classes then.

If she needed to skip 4-5 grades to be challenged, we would be looking outside of the regular classroom for education. IMO, public schools cannot handle that type of acceleration well & I would be looking for early college entrance instead (so, in our position, I would be looking at homeschooling for a few years and then early college entrance). Does your district have any gifted resources available? I would not skip a child into a class that was not going to be a good academic match--- they you would have to deal with intense social issues (a 7-8 year old in junior high is not going to find social peers) AND a poor academic fit. It just doesn't seem to be a viable option to me.

If the teacher means, though, that she is performing in certain subjects at a 7th grade level, that is within "normal" in DS' class (he is in a 1st-2nd split). Last year there were at least a couple children reading at a 12th grade/early college level. Definately several kids in the 4th/5th grade range for math & science as well.
post #6 of 28
I'll say ... in the new age of virtual schooling, home schooling becoming mainstream, colleges offering "dual enrollment" to home schoolers (e.g., part time college for gifted teens living at home) ... it's now easy to remove the social battering ram of school from the education, and replace it with a more "adult normal" form of social life where you see your friends outside of your work. What is the justification for not meeting kids where they are?

I'm thinking of people who don't want to accelerate because "what about when they're dating" etc.

Give her the best education you can get for her. Do it efficiently and don't force her to spend more time in the K-12 system than necessary. Deal with problems if they arise.
post #7 of 28
I'v heard that skipping from elementary directly to high school is sometimes a good option for those who need multiskips. We are thinking dd needs at least 2 skips to work in regular class, the question is just timing. Maybe one next year...
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpokey View Post
I'll say ... in the new age of virtual schooling, home schooling becoming mainstream, colleges offering "dual enrollment" to home schoolers (e.g., part time college for gifted teens living at home) ... it's now easy to remove the social battering ram of school from the education, and replace it with a more "adult normal" form of social life where you see your friends outside of your work. What is the justification for not meeting kids where they are?


This is pretty much what we've fallen into. "Adult normal" is really what my kids wanted for social life anyway. A combination of virtual schooling, home schooling, college courses, travel and mentoring seems to be working for my kids.

Miranda
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! This is all good stuff to ponder. I am going to have to try to summarize it for my DH, who is a PS teacher... he wants to do what is best for K, but has a strong "keep her with her age-mates and in PS" due to his background. I, on the other hand, would pack her up and travel around the world, homeschooling and distance-learning from the road, if it were solely up to me (and I had the budget to do so!)
post #10 of 28
We use a Montessori school to deal with this. DS1 skipped kindergarten and was placed in a lower elementary classroom. After skipping a grade, he's working two grades above his official grade level in some subjects.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
If we were going to have DD evaluated further to figure out exactly where she needs to be, where would I start looking for resources to do that - does anyone know? Her school gave her a couple of assessments last year (her teacher basically snuck her in, with our permission, to be tested alongside last year's 2nd graders for the 3rd grade gifted program. DD was a 1st grader last year and scored very high for gifted a grade level above her then-current grade.) I'm wondering if, rather than testing her with kids a year above, she should be tested two or three years above, to see how she does? But I don't think the school would do that just because I asked them to, kwim? Are there services/counselors/etc who specialize in this kind of thing? How do you find them?

I"m trying not to get stressed, but DH keeps saying things like, "I just want her to be happy" and "she has lots of fun with her classmates"... which is true. But, long story short, I don't predict that will last much longer, due to my own experiences. I've asked her if she'd like to be learning more at school, and she says she would. I've asked her if she'd even be okay with learning at home and doing things with friends afterschool, and she said she would. She wants to learn more. But she doesn't want to disappoint daddy, and daddy's most fervent desire is that she would be "normal and happy". My most fervent desire is that she would be herself and be happy with that... and "normal" (aka, in DH's world, "average") just isn't who she is.
post #12 of 28
post #13 of 28
OK, I think I might be the lone voice of dissent in the group. As a grade skipper myself, I would ABSOLUTELY NOT skip 2 grades, I would only do 1 if it is early.

Let me start with so back history, I attended a private school that allowed me to learn at my own pace (i.e. I went into other higher grade classrooms for math, worked on my own projects for reading, etc). I started public school in 5th grade. I was already performing at an above high school level in most areas. My mom agreed to skip me one grade level, so I went straight into 7th. I had no academic problems, and I was OK socially because the gifted program kept the same group of 25 kids together for most of the day. My mother would not allow them to skip me additional grades.

I am actually glad. In high school, the differences started to show. My friends started driving, I was too young. Physically I was not developing at the same rate as my classmates. I was offered the chance to complete high school in 3 years, but my mom said that if I graduated at 15, I would have to live at home for the 1st 2 years and attend community college. I opted to do dual enrollment in high school, which turned out to be a very good plan.

If given the option with my children, I would not skip more than one grade. If they were that far advanced, I would home school in partnership with other gifted moms. However, the social part of schooling can be very detrimental to a child 2 years younger than her peers.
post #14 of 28
Well if her PS teacher has recommended skipping within the PS system to you as parents, that should be good enough for your DH? And after, entry into the gifted program, which is in PS too I gather - what's not good enough for a PS teacher? (I am married to one too and he's had to revise his opinions about "happy" and "average" and gifted kids' needs a bit, particularly after having his own kid and realizing just how different his needs are from most other kids he sees.)

All those options may not be ideal and in a perfect world, the system would offer your daughter much more, but why not take advantage of the offers you have to the fullest?

Re: skipping two grades. I was skipped one grade and while it was a nightmare socially in elementary school, I realize now this was completely the fault of the teachers (and parents of other kids!) who really opposed the skip on principle but just did not know what to do with me in first grade. After moving into a high-ability track, it wasn't a problem any more - ever. (And the driving ...I was given a lot of lifts for a year, was all.) I have no experiences, first hand or with other kids, what skipping more than one grade would entail. I think I'd try just one skip and then try out the gifted rpogram.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Tigerle, we could definitely look at doing a skip and the gifted program in combination. He's not really against either per se, he's just hesitant about everything. DD's current school district doesn't have much of a gifted program. It *says* it has one, but in effect, it's totally up to the classroom teachers whether or not they want to do anything with it. To move her to a separate classroom gifted program, we'd have to change districts, which, fortunately, we could do because DH teaches in a district that has a separate gifted classroom. It'll require making sure we have a ton of supporting evidence, but it's possible, I think.

I guess I really lean towards HSing her for a while and then looking into early college admittance. However, DH isn't on board with that at all, and doing a skip/gifted program combo might be an alternative we could all live with.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post
OK, I think I might be the lone voice of dissent in the group. As a grade skipper myself, I would ABSOLUTELY NOT skip 2 grades, I would only do 1 if it is early.
Thanks for the information and the background. We had DS1's parent-teacher conference yesterday and ended up discussing additional grade-skipping for him. After some discussion, the general opinion was "No," but only because it would be too hard socially for a 7 year old to go to the 4th grade. I feel sort of bad about it, because I think he's a little bored.

Your story helps me. Listening to your experience, I think holding him back for social reasons is a good decision. He's young socially for his age, much less for an older class.

The social/academic mismatch is how we ended up in a Montessori school in the first place. Our school district doesn't grade skip. Our idea was that if he can't work forward in the curriculum (ie. work at a higher grade level), he could work "out" in a curriculum (more art and science, which he loves).
post #17 of 28
Sorry, I'm late the thread..
AahRee, have you checked out www.davidsongifted.org? The young scholar program might be something to look into.

Our daughter was similarly several grades ahead. We really didn't see how our local public elementary school was going to work for her. I know that some places are flexible enough to make it work, but we didn't see that here. Although we hadn't planned on it, we started homeschooling when she was 5 1/2. It has been great for her. She has recently wanted more interaction (with academics, she has a ton of social friends) so she has started part-time at a charter high school. She loves her classes there and is at the top of her classes despite being 3-6 years younger. She feels very socially comfortable at school but has kept her friends from outside of school as her main peer group. We foresee a mixture of homeschooling, high school, dual enrollment college, travel, and time for creative pursuits getting her to near college age before she goes away for school.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverTam View Post
Your story helps me. Listening to your experience, I think holding him back for social reasons is a good decision. He's young socially for his age, much less for an older class.

The social/academic mismatch is how we ended up in a Montessori school in the first place. Our school district doesn't grade skip. Our idea was that if he can't work forward in the curriculum (ie. work at a higher grade level), he could work "out" in a curriculum (more art and science, which he loves).

Even after skipping and Gifted programs I was bored. You might want to try some additional homeschool projects or talking to his teachers about alternative assignments. My mom was able to work it out by utting it this way. Anj is already working far above grade level in this subject. She tends to be disruptive when she gets bored. I would like to provide her with alternative challenges to keep her from being disruptive in your class.

She then made up workbooks for my subjects with additional work. When I had finished my techer's assignment, I could go to the workbook and get something more interesting out.

post #19 of 28
As an educator who regularly sees students performing above and below grade level - sometimes significantly above and below - I would caution against EVER using these scores to justify or validate a decision to skip a child ahead of his or her peers. The reality is that children are far more comfortable with same-age peers. Once the decision is made to skip a child ahead - often experimentally - that child never catches up socially and spends an entire school career as an outsider.

That said, when a child who is truly bored in school at their grade level to the point where little real learning is taking place, skipping can certainly be considered. I don't oppose the decision to skip a child ahead if all indications point to it as a necessity. But using any single criteria such as standardized test scores to skip a child to another grade can end up being a regrettable mistake that has a negative impact on your child for years to come.

In the end, it is of paramount importance that you reflect carefully on your reasons for considering the skip. There are very few good reasons to make your child have to grow up faster than he or she already does. Childhood in-and-of itself has value that you can't measure in a test score.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverTam View Post
We use a Montessori school to deal with this. DS1 skipped kindergarten and was placed in a lower elementary classroom. After skipping a grade, he's working two grades above his official grade level in some subjects.
This is something to consider. The teachers are used to accommodating children on many different levels and the children are used to being in class with a span of ages. Our daughter is just one or two years ahead, but it has made a world of difference for her to move from a regular public school to a public Montessori school.
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