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Skipping ahead a grade

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hi, I was hoping for some opinions and info on skipping grades. My daughter is in Kindergarten now and turned 6 on October 27.

I don't feel like she is being challenged at all. She really has been enjoying it and doesn't complain about being bored but I can tell that the things she is doing are way too easy for her. I do homeschooling with her at home as well as public school and everything I find for her is 1st grade level b/c all the Kindergarten stuff is just too easy and she already knows it. She has been able to read since she was 4, can do 2 column addition and subtracting and even "carry the one". She can count through all the hundreds and understands counting by 2s, 5s and 10s.

 

So for those who have kids who skipped a grade how did you decided to do it? Did you have to approach the teacher or do the teachers suggest it to you? Is it not something that's normally done half way through the year? I'm really lost here so any information would be much appreciated :) Oh and we are in NH if that matters as far as standards and policy by state.

 

Thanks!!

post #2 of 28

Read here:

http://www.mothering.com/community/f/370/parenting-the-gifted-child

You'll find several threads there about early elementary grade skipping.

 

First you need to talk to the teacher.  Does the teacher see the same thing you do?  Does your daughter assess above level in reading and math?  If so, what are the teachers goals for your daughter this year, and what is she doing so that your daughter makes a year of progress in school this year?

 

Next, I'd quit homeschooling school stuff.  You're making the problem worse.  If you feel compelled to do something, do something different than kids get to do in school.  Tackle logic, history and science in a more tangible and complete way than they do in school, start discussing books, explore art, learn another language, learn a musical instrument. 

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

thanks for the link. The teacher does see that she is ahead of her class but she didn't mention her skipping to first grade. Maybe I should ask her specifically about grade skipping? We just had a regular parent teacher conference where she showed me some of the results of evaluations she had done. It seemed like she had to follow an order to the assessment and didn't test her higher than what kids should know by the end of fall in kindergarten. So I'm not even sure how far ahead she is if at all. It just seems to me that everything she tells me they do in school she already knows and I think she would do fine in 1st grade right now especially since she just missed the cutoff age-wise. I guess my big question was, is grade skipping generally recommended or is it best for her to just stay in this class and always be ahead or get in a class where she can be challenged? Also is there a website I can check out that might have what kids need to know for being in the first grade? or a test I can give her to see where she's at??

 

 the stuff we do at home is different then what she does at school b/c it's harder then what they do in her class. If I don't do things with her at home I feel like she isn't learning anything anywhere! She always wants to do the workbooks and activities I find, if she ever doesn't want to do "work" we don't I don't force it at all.

post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha27 View Post

I guess my big question was, is grade skipping generally recommended or is it best for her to just stay in this class and always be ahead or get in a class where she can be challenged? 

 

I can't speak for "generally" as it seems schools are anything but "general" in these situations. In our case, the school came to us with the idea. For DD, they'd already tried everything they could to accommodate her within the kindergarten classroom. She was given a private reading teacher a couple days a week, differentiated material in-class, she tried being the "special helper," she had alternate activities on the computer and in the library. DD, who started over-the-moon at the prospect of school started to deteriorate physically and emotionally. The principal called me in and suggested she start going to 1st grade for math and language arts. Within 2 weeks it was decided that she'd move to 1st grade full-time. Grade acceleration was not an easy fix. DD has needed continuous accommodation over the years but no doubt it was the right move. At 15, she's thriving academically and emotionally in an early college program. My DS was offered a skip which we rejected. We felt the school had made the offer too quickly based more on DD's success than on who DS was individually. He was certainly advanced enough but not a good candidate for many reasons including the fact that he was only 4 when he started. I can't say he learned anything new in kindergarten but he LOVED it. We transferred him to a tri-lingual immersion program in 1st grade to give him more natural challenge within his natural grade. He's now in 7th grade and quite happy with the aide of gifted programs and subject accelerations in math and science.... he's also happy he didn't skip because he already hates being the youngest (where it never mattered a lick to DD.)

 

If your DD is happy, I wouldn't jump to grade acceleration. Maybe she'll need that move in the future but at the moment, she sounds like she's having a very positive schooling experience. Kids grow in lots of ways that have nothing to do with academics. This kindergarten may be giving her something you won't necessarily be able to quantify. If that changes, start small. Ask for some in-class differentiation and enrichment. If that doesn't work, consider a subject acceleration where she would go to a high grade for just 1 or 2 subjects. If all that fails, then yes, consider full-grade acceleration.

post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Next, I'd quit homeschooling school stuff.  You're making the problem worse.  If you feel compelled to do something, do something different than kids get to do in school.  Tackle logic, history and science in a more tangible and complete way than they do in school, start discussing books, explore art, learn another language, learn a musical instrument. 

 

I can't agree with this more. There is so much in the world to learn. It's a waste to spend MORE time in areas for which they will get constant exposure to over the next 12 years. Instead of workbooks, go to a museum or on a nature hike. DD started to play the violin at 5 (she'd asked steadily since her 4th birthday.) DS started playing the piano at 6 after about 6 months of pestering. They were both really into ancient civilizations in preschool and kindergarten. DS tried to teach himself a Native American Language  (which is why we moved him to the immersion school.) We did a lot of tidepooling, zoo trips, art, kitchen science, games... fun for them, fun for me, a break from fill in the blanks.

 

I do recognize that some kids will be obsessed with math or really push for workbooks but many other kids, when given the option of hands-on learning about the world, will choose that over worksheets.

post #6 of 28

Dd skipped a grade at a charter school, which I think was easier than a regular public school would have been.  It was absolutely the right decision, though.  Here are some links for you to read:

 

www.nationdeceived.org

 

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1653653,00.html

 

 

We skipped because dd used to come home in tears from how bored she was.  If your dd is enjoying school, that might be different.  

post #7 of 28

If the teacher has only evaluated up to presently expected levels, then the teacher has no information to discuss a potential skip with you.

 

The best practices for a skip is generally considered to be based on using the Iowa Acceleration Scale, which requires IQ, above-level achievement testing, as well as a host of more qualitative factors.  A child who is old for grade and is generally well adjusted, would be a good candidate for a skip with an IQ>130 and broad-based achievement testing over the 95th percentile.   The goal is to still be well above the average in the receiving grade. 

 

You don't have any of the information.  From what you report on reading and math, she'd likely score quite high.  You don't know that, and your classroom teacher doesn't have the tools to do the testing.  The classroom teacher ought to have the tools to determine your daughter's actual reading level, and should have some general way of evaluating math skills.

 

I'd honestly recommend that you change your focus.  The classroom teacher will likely know nothing about grade skipping.  Instead, have a discussion with the classroom teacher about your DD's present levels and how those abilities are being met in the classroom.  Is she receiving reading instruction at her actual level?  What is she learning in math?  What are her weaknesses and how is the teacher addressing them?  This is actually a much more effective way to get your child a more appropriate education.  If all this comes out to the teacher saying she doesn't have the tools to teach your child at your child's readiness level, then you have a more specific conversation about solving the problem through subject- or whole grade acceleration.  That generally includes the building principal.

 

A lot of us with grade-skipped kids (or were grade skipped ourselves) see it as a band aide.  While it makes the instruction closer to the child's level, classroom instruction still moves more slowly than what the child needs, as the high IQ predicts a high rate of learning.  My son has a grade skip (skipped 1st), and is thankfully placed with a teacher with a black-belt in math differentiation, such that DS will likely be completing both the third and fourth grade math curriculum by the end of the school year.  I have no idea how she does it, honestly.  This only works through the close collaboration between us, his teacher, the gifted ed specialist, and the principal.  This is actually a better solution than just subject accelerating him to 3rd or 4th grade math, because he's being allowed to learn at his pace, not the pace of an average kid who happens to be 2-3 years older than him. 

 

Which brings me to the point of doing home ed.  You missed my point.  I totally get wanting to allow your child to stretch their brains after a dull day at school counting the holes in the ceiling tiles (DS reported it was 225 holes per tile, and there are 15x27 tiles in total, so there were 225x15x27 holes in total).   My point was to work on things that your child won't get in school.  Very little logic is taught in schools, outside the random worksheet thrown at the bored kid who finished their work too fast.  Teach logic  -- you can find lots of fun puzzles that really stretch reading comprehension and teach logical thinking.  Teach analogies -- it's great for flexible thinking and building vocabulary.  I work very hard to not exacerbate the problem of not learning at school down the line.  I want my kids to learn and believe that you can learn at school.  My son is actually learning at school this year.  Had I gotten him another arithmetic book for his birthday like he asked, we'd be giving him the rest of the 4th grade curriculum.  Instead we got him Number Devil and Penrose the Mathematical Cat.  He's now wandering around talking about infinity, irrational numbers, and Pascal's triangle.  He's in hog heaven, and next week he can still go to school and learn more long division from his teacher.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the helpful responses! This gives me a lot more information then I started with. I do understand about finding different ways to challenge her mind at home, we actually do hike a lot but we live in a very remote area where museums are scarce! I have thought of music lessons and might think of that some more. Perhaps I'll try and talk with her teacher some more and go from there.

Thanks again, it's always helpful to get feedback from other parents :)

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

 

The best practices for a skip is generally considered to be based on using the Iowa Acceleration Scale, which requires IQ, above-level achievement testing, as well as a host of more qualitative factors.  A child who is old for grade and is generally well adjusted, would be a good candidate for a skip with an IQ>130 and broad-based achievement testing over the 95th percentile.   The goal is to still be well above the average in the receiving grade. 

 

Yes, the general rule of thumb is that an accelerating child should be at least one full grade advanced of the grade they are moving into. So, to move into first grade now, her lowest academic areas should be mid-second grade. It's not too uncommon to have readers who are 2nd grade or higher but it's less common to have those who have the writing skills of a 2nd grader too.  We know several successful grade skippers in life and all were more like 3 to 5 grades advanced all around. They have continued to need accommodations and retained that gap through-out their schooling. However, it did help socially and helped get them to more appropriate accommodations sooner. 

 

The classroom teacher will likely know nothing about grade skipping. 

 

Again, I agree. Our school may have suggested the move but there hadn't been one in the district in decades. None of the staff we encountered had experienced it first hand. After DD's success, the district was more open to it in general but it's still rare.... unless you count the rash of middle school "grade corrections" but that's a whole different story lol.

 

 

post #10 of 28

I agree w/ PP in talking to the teacher specifically about a skip, asking for the Iowa Acceleration Scale to be completed, and to alter at home 'teaching' to be different than what is at school instead of 'more' than what is at school.

 

Look into educational options- is there a multi-age class, immersion program, charter, or other 'alternative' educational route available in the public schools? It varies by county/city/state/area

 

Also as what sort of differentiation the teacher is doing for your DD at school. Are there other kids at her level? At K, there is likely at least a few other readers and kiddos that enjoy math. THey may be ahead, below, or at your DD level in those areas. If there is no peer (s) to group her with-- potentially a subject level acceleration for reading and/or math could be possible as well rather than a whole grade skip. See if they are working with a small group toward learning/reading/working at different levels than standard K. Again, this can vary by school curriculum, individual make up of the group of kids, and area expectations.

 

It is common for teachers to test to 'where they need to be' vs 'where they are at'. You can ask and see if the teacher will evaluate for a cap- but she may or may not.

 

I dont know anything about NH laws, so look into it at hoagies gifted site or your state education website for both K/1/2 grade curriculum standards and age/grade policies and/or availability for gifted resources.

 

 

My DD are almost exactly a year older than your DD (they are Oct Bdays and just turned 7 ) and in 2nd grade. It worked out that we moved to a state that had a Dec 1 cut off so my DD were placed in 1st straight from PreK (we were in a state with a Sept 1 cut off). They assessed DD and chose to place them without doing K-- but it is a bit different than a skip since they are young for grade, but in with a few peers. They are one of the youngest in their class at this time and academically well placed and/or differentiated for areas that they are advanced.

 

We got a wonderful teacher for 1st and a fantastic teacher for 2nd that does even more than the 1st grade teacher did. Both DD are in differentiated groups for Math, Reading, Writing (one DD), and Spelling. Each group is a bit different make-up of kids. They are in a reading group that is above grade level that works on inferences/idioms/genre/theme/characterization , they get spelling words like accomplish/neighbor/explain/etc , and are in a math group for enrichment (there is still another math group above theirs that is also above grade level). Writing is completely individualized for everyone in the class. This is all done in class (or across the other 2nd grade classes for grouping) and with their peers. It works well and they are thriving at this time! I can not imagine them in 1st grade at this time (which is where they would be in almost any other state). As a side note they also have some special needs-- so I was very very worried about the social/age differences and the academic differences by making them the 'youngest' in the class. Honestly, so far it has been  much smoother than I anticipated with lots of support from school staff.

 

For afterschool/summer/breaks we do a lot of non-school but enriching activities like swimming, science activities (get awesome science kits online like Magic School Bus!), role play (based off of social studies from school- they set up an immigration station in our living room!), library trips, writing small skits/plays, visits when we can to museums, zoo trips, writing short 'books' (I bind them with staples or yarn), legos, puzzles, board games, growing plants, magazines like Ranger Rick and LadyBug,  etc. They are constantly enjoying various obsessions so we immerse ourselves in whatever catches their fancy at the time. They took a yoga class, a chess class, animal tracking class, a bee keeper class (for kids!) and are hoping to play soccer-- all through after school/community programs. They learned fractions and measurements from cooking at home and reading kids cookbooks.

 

 

But first, I would sit down and see what the school sees/thinks and where they are willing to go from there!


Edited by KCMichigan - 11/28/12 at 9:33am
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

So instead of a full grade skip should I inquire about her getting some advanced help in maybe just math or reading? Is that more common? Like I said I'm not even sure how far ahead she is I just know that the things she tells me they are doing in school are things she already knows- letter sounds and recognition, counting, playing Candyland to learn colors and counting, I know this is all review for her and I want her learning new things and I know she does too. I don't want to offend the teacher by implying she isn't doing a good enough job challenging my daughter. Is there a tactful way to approach the teacher?

post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

oh yes they do have groups for different level kids in her class. but sometimes she tells me they mix it up and she will be grouped with kids still learning letters. Which is fine, I think it's good for her to be a "helper" sometimes I just feel like I am letting her down if I don't advocate for her to be challenged at the level she is at.

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha27 View Post

So instead of a full grade skip should I inquire about her getting some advanced help in maybe just math or reading? Is that more common? Like I said I'm not even sure how far ahead she is I just know that the things she tells me they are doing in school are things she already knows- letter sounds and recognition, counting, playing Candyland to learn colors and counting, I know this is all review for her and I want her learning new things and I know she does too. I don't want to offend the teacher by implying she isn't doing a good enough job challenging my daughter. Is there a tactful way to approach the teacher?

 

Have you helped in the class yet? That might give you a better idea of what is going on. Of course it's regional, but in our area, while they do a review of basic things like letters, numbers, colors, ect. It's remedial for almost all the kids entering K. At this point, in K, our kids would be writing in journals, skip counting, simple addition/subtraction, reading 3 letter words. They'd be learning about their community including local government. They'd be doing a science curriculum. By February, they are expected to be able to write 3 sentence paragraphs on Lincoln. In DS's class (where there were kids turning 7) many kids were already reading up to 2nd grade level. It can be difficult to know what is happening in class or if your child has ability peers in class based on what your child says. Kids focus in on is different than what we, as parents, would. I'd not approach the teacher until you've had a chance to check out the class for yourself.

 

I always recommend approaching teachers from the social/emotional perspective but I admit, my kids were unhappy before I approached them. In your case, I'd start slow... maybe donate some books to the class that are at your DD's reading level or ask the teacher if she can bring in her own books. I'd start collecting any work she's doing at home... solved math problems, stories she's written, a book list so that you can show the teacher what she's doing. Be positive. Never, ever use the word "bored." Find ways to help. If you work outside the home, maybe ask if there are take-home projects you can help with. 

 

I just want to add that even if THIS year isn't challenging and your DD isn't fighting for more, it doesn't mean she never will. My youngest really just played his days away in K, 1st. In 2nd he started wanting more. In 7th, he's in advanced everything, advocated for his own subject accelerations and doing great!

post #14 of 28

Look at it from the perspective of the teacher.  Your daughter's teacher will see herself as a well educated, experienced professional, who is an expert at teaching a variety of kids.  She will likely see you as mom, someone who knows her kid, but has little sense of state standards, developmental stages, emotionally wrapped up in her precious daughter's abilities, yada yada yada.  You need to have a discussion with the teacher.  Keep in mind her perspective.  It is not your place to tell the teacher what your daughter needs.  It's your place to tell the teacher the effect school is having on your child and what you observe at home.  In the past, I've had discussions along the lines of:

 

"DS told me how many total holes are in the ceiling tiles of your classroom.  I'm wondering if he seems checked out while in class.  We don't see that kind of thing at home, so I was surprised (and somewhat impressed -- who taught him multiplication?)  Can you tell me what might have been happening in the classroom while he was staring at the ceiling?"

 

"DD asked to stay home from school today because she doesn't get to learn anything at school.  Of course, you and I both know that's not true.  I'm wondering if this is something we could work together on to see if we can make the learning more evident to DD?"

 

"DD did her week's homework packet in 10 minutes this afternoon, yet I see that you haven't yet taught the content for Thursday's homework.  Can you please check it to make sure she did it properly?"

 

"DS really surprised me today by describing the plot of Charlie in the Chocolate Factory today with great detail.  Wow, I didn't realize his reading had progressed that quickly.  What level do you have him evaluated at in the classroom?  I guess I need to head back to the library!  I got books from the wrong shelf!"

 

In each comment, I've pointed out the discrepancy between home and school.  In each case, I've asked the teacher to reflect on the level of teaching and whether or not its appropriate for my child.  In each case, I work had to be exceedingly polite and deferential to the teacher, and I make a specific observation of what my child is doing or reporting.  I always acknowledge that the teacher is the expert in this situation, and I'm just reporting.

 

Arriving at the decision for a skip is a long process.  Who knows, maybe you'll be there soon.  But the teacher needs to be given the chance to teach your child.  You can guide the teacher to seeing the discrepancy between the class's level and your child's, but it is not your place to declare that your child's level is beyond the class.  I'm always weary when people report that their child is reading at X grade level.  A few schools evaluate above level, but many do not.  Just because my son reads and understands books rated at a 4-5 grade level does not mean that he would score that high on a proper reading test that takes accuracy, fluency, and comprehension into account.  I report what books my kids enjoy, and the teacher can choose to use that information to gauge at what level to begin evaluation.

post #15 of 28
Quote:
  She will likely see you as mom, someone who knows her kid, but has little sense of state standards, developmental stages, emotionally wrapped up in her precious daughter's abilities, yada yada yada. 

this simply is not true of most parents that I know----they do know and are not some naive parent, yet MANY teachers think this of all parents!

 

teachers are not gods and do not deserve to be placed on some lofty tower- there are lots of crappy ones that should not be teaching....a degree does not make a professional

 

even with public schools, the teachers work for you, you pay their salaries and they are accountable

 

 

there are many ways to approach a teacher situation and it is not wrong to advocate for your child nor should you go in feeling you are not equal to the teacher, parents should be made to feel empowered not powerless at the whim of a "professional"- often with many things, the parent really does know what is wrong and what is best for their child

 

 

 

 

                                                                                         remember you are your child's first teacher and you do count

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

even with public schools, the teachers work for you, you pay their salaries and they are accountable

 

 

I do see your point, but of course it's not nearly that simple. Yes, the primary work of a teacher is in the service of a child's education. But the accountability is not that simple. Many employment situations can be this simple: if I hire someone to paint my house, their work benefits me and they are accountable to me. If I am an employee at a firm, my work benefits that firm's bottom line and I am accountable to the firm. But in the case of education, there's much more complexity and potential for conflicting goals. Public school teachers are employed by the government which functions as an agent of the electorate, but their work is supposed to benefit the children. Teachers are often caught very much in the middle between a government that wants to find the most efficient way to ensure its re-election in four years and a quirky child whose needs aren't being optimally met. A parent doesn't have any particular leverage, and to imply that the teacher is accountable to the parent is disingenuous at best.

 

To the original poster: there are a number of different options that might more meaningfully meet your dd's academic needs. One is grade-skipping. I agree with what has been stated above about this option: it's important to look broadly at that option, gathering as much information as possible in an effort to ensure that on balance it will turn out to be a better fit over the long run. There are procedures and systems that are helpful in predicting the success of a grade-skip. But there are other options that you should explore as well: subject acceleration, gifted pull-outs, gifted clusters, in-class differentiation, out-of-school enrichment (not acceleration, as others have pointed out: challenging her with stuff that is not part of the school system's standard scope and sequence), language immersion programs, alternative education programs, homeschooling, and so on. Not all of these might be practical for you, but I would explore as many as possible.

 

We live in a very rural remote area (village of 600, hours from larger centres), have extremely advanced kids, and even here we have been able to find a number of options (with or without grade-skipping) to enrich and challenge our kids. Admittedly in our case our solutions during the elementary school years have not involved much in-school time, but that's been more because we've enjoyed the freedom to travel and explore out of school. I'm sure that if our kids had needed to attend school full-time during those years, we could have found lots of flexibility that wasn't immediately obvious. So I would stay hopeful and open-minded ... and think outside the box.

 

Miranda

post #17 of 28
Quote:
I do see your point, but of course it's not nearly that simple. Yes, the primary work of a teacher is in the service of a child's education. But the accountability is not that simple. Many employment situations can be this simple: if I hire someone to paint my house, their work benefits me and they are accountable to me. If I am an employee at a firm, my work benefits that firm's bottom line and I am accountable to the firm. But in the case of education, there's much more complexity and potential for conflicting goals. Public school teachers are employed by the government which functions as an agent of the electorate, but their work is supposed to benefit the children. Teachers are often caught very much in the middle between a government that wants to find the most efficient way to ensure its re-election in four years and a quirky child whose needs aren't being optimally met. A parent doesn't have any particular leverage, and to imply that the teacher is accountable to the parent is disingenuous at best.

no, this is not true.....in my state there is teacher accountability - are you in the US?

we have a chain of command and a locally elected school board (the non- govt school board officials approve all hirings) that does take what a parent says and their is accountability for the teacher, the parent has every right to lodge a complaint (follow the procedure) and it must be reviewed and the teacher is held accountable- they do fire teachers for not being accountable around here- happens often

 

ETS- the OP also has the right to go over the teachers head and speak to the next up is she is dissatisfied with that the teacher says or if her desires for her DD are different from that of the teacher- each state has their own set of rules and the teachers word is not the final ruling 

 

the parent has the right to testing in many states and it is simply a matter of how it is requested


Edited by serenbat - 11/28/12 at 11:01am
post #18 of 28

I'm not in the US but our system is similar. We could argue the definition and direction of accountability all day but that's semantics. What I was trying to say was that I think for a parent who is beginning to explore the way in which her child's needs might be better met in a classroom, a mentality based in power over the teacher is not the kindest or most effective mindset. Teachers are often caught in the middle, pulled between their desire to fully meet the needs of an individual child and the reality of having to play whatever under-funded get-the-average-test-scores-up game their employer is insisting on. Going in with an appreciation for that juggling act is likely to be more fruitful.

 

Miranda

post #19 of 28
Quote:
What I was trying to say was that I think for a parent who is beginning to explore the way in which her needs might be better met in a classroom, a mentality based in power over the teacher is not the kindest or most effective mindset.

being submissive/non equal is also not a tactic 

 

 

parents do have the ultimate power and need to know that-they have many choices with schooling 

 

in the end the parents do make the decisions and it's the parents that need to do what is correct/right for their child-most times the parent knows the child far better

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

being submissive/non equal is also not a tactic 

 

parents do have the ultimate power

 

Who's talking about being submissive? Going in with an appreciation of the teacher's challenges is not being submissive. It's being realistic, and adopting a collaborative mentality rather than one that involves a power imbalance. I completely agree that parents have the ultimate power -- but that power is over their choice for their child's education. Not over the teacher.

 

Miranda

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