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#1 of 12 Old 09-03-2014, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To Accelerate or Not??

Hi and thanks for any help. My child was recommended to accelerate earlier this year in school, however for emotional reasons we didn't take this opportunity, so left her in her current year at school. She desperately did not want to move up. Six months later I feel she is more mature and extremely confidant with everything in life pretty much (!) and am thinking she might handle it better. It strikes me that if given a choice, she will probably never agree to leaving friends behind, and the later we wait, we might lose this opportunity altogether. Her school is still open to sending her up a grade. Has anyone grade-skipped mid-year as opposed to beginning of school year? She is seven years old and currently the eldest in her class, so if she skips up, she will be the youngest in her class by only two weeks (birthday two weeks past cut-off date). We are in Australia, so she's completed the Kindergarten year (called Prep here) and still in 1st Grade 'til December 2014. Contemplating a skip up to 2nd Grade for last term of year (starting October) or skip up to 3rd Grade for next February at beginning of new school year. She is extremely sociable (not extroverted, though) and makes friends well. Has been described as a 'people pleaser' type by teachers!! Very obedient/biddable. Has been tested etc. by school counselor.
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#2 of 12 Old 09-03-2014, 11:40 PM
 
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My eldest did a mid-year skip from kindie to 1st. It was the school's idea. We were hesitant but after exhausting our other options and seeing her get more and more disconnected, we agreed to let her go to 1st for reading and math. By the end of the week, she was begging to stay in 1st full-time. Like your DD, ours was on the older end (2 months from cut-off.) She was introverted but not shy and had very strong social skills. She had not been tested but was blowing through the accelerated curriculum they were trying to offer her. It was the right move for DD. She's 17 now and away at college. Very happy. No regrets.

DS was offered a grade skip but we refused. He was already one of the youngest with a fall birthday in a high red-shirting district. He had some fine motor issues and we were still trying to iron out all his sensitivity issues. He just started high school. We've managed his academic needs through subject acceleration, GATE and unique programs. No regrets not moving him forward.

I can't say what is right for your child. Personally, I really like the subject acceleration option. It would give her a chance to "try-out" the higher grade without having to commit to it. Has this option be explored?

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#3 of 12 Old 09-04-2014, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, her teacher initially was simply going to put her up a grade for all of English, however then felt she would be pretty disconnected being in essentially two classrooms a day. As she is great with maths, too, they then tested her formally which from their perspective was very successful and suggested putting her up completely. It's just hard as she is so sociable she hates the idea of not fitting in in the new grade and losing all her current/old friends. I do think it would be the right place for her academically, though, and already see issues with her being a perfectionist - she is so far ahead in english in particular and maths is so easy for her. It seems like I'm holding her back by not having agreed 6 months ago to the school's suggestion to put her up. She did pop up to 2nd grade just for reading groups which technically went well however she told me she felt pretty out of it, as she was only there for probably 20 mins or so on reading days...
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#4 of 12 Old 09-04-2014, 06:09 AM
 
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Considering she's the oldest now and would merely be two weeks younger than the youngest kid in the new class, I would not try to work around a skip with single subject acceleration any more, the new classroom sounds like it would be an all around better fit. I would ask the school to set it up as a trial period, with a defined beginning and ending, and make it clear to her that she has a choice, and I'd be very surprised if your DD weren't to prefer the new classroom very quickly, like WNM described.
Our DS1 was entered early so that he is just a few weeks younger than the youngest kids in his class. The social fit was just right, the academic fit tolerable so far. We are actually mulling over a second acceleration, recommended by his tester, but are not there yet. But having him in the year below? We couldn't imagine at this point.

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
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#5 of 12 Old 09-04-2014, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again. There is actually a mandatory six week trial period for accelerations in the state schools here, anyway. According to experienced (?) people here, accelerated kids basically never go back to their original grades.... I must add that our ideas for other enrichment have been exhausted. There are no pull-out programs for 1st graders - probably not for another three years or so at our current school. While there is a special needs school in town catering well for gifted and talented kids, this school has just had a change in principals and is apparently taking a new direction so will have much less support for G & T compared to in the past (instead focussing on kids with other needs and getting them to reach national testing targets...). We also do plenty of outside activities (funnily enough ballet and gymnastics prove to be the brain exercise times of the week!!). I've just started my daughter on piano and have suddenly realized how fast a learner she is compared to the many other beginners I have taught in the typical beginner age range. She's always dinging around trying to do/copy science experiments she sees on cereal packets and in library books etc - there's no shortage of stimulation. It's still not the same as ALL DAY stimulation at school, though. I also could say that in her outside school activities they tend to put kids into age 'range' classes (not a 12-mth range situation as schools do) according to skill levels and she is usually in groups with kids about 12 - 18 months older than her. I have thought these activities were at least a great experience for her to sometimes 'fail' and have to really try, as her gross motor skills have always been less than average, however she compensates for this by thinking hard to get it right!! Sorry if I am just thinking out loud too much. There's not too much history of grade-skipping around here (south of the equator) but according to my teacher friend sources from metro areas (we are regional) it is becoming a little more common.
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#6 of 12 Old 09-04-2014, 08:29 AM
 
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She sounds like a good candidate on paper. I just wanted to add that you should not look at the grade skip as being a "fix." Ironically, good candidates for grade skips tend to need a lot more than a grade skip to get what they need. You have to look at the grade skip as better jumping off point.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#7 of 12 Old 09-05-2014, 08:49 PM
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I skipped my dd, but I wouldn't skip a kid who didn't want to skip.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#8 of 12 Old 09-06-2014, 09:44 AM
 
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My oldest skipped 1st. He's also subject accelerated in severals subjects now that he's in middle school. We toss around the idea of just making those subject accelerations another full skip. However, he loves his friends and is doing well where he is so we are leaving it.

I obviously support acceleration. However, the big hurdle here is that she doesn't want to skip. I wouldn't move my kids if they didn't want to go. I wouldn't just give up either though. I'd try subject acceleration, as a way to ease her into the higher grade. Is there anyway you can send her for English and Math this quarter, then revisit skipping after she's made friends in the new class?

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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#9 of 12 Old 09-07-2014, 10:39 AM
 
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A few other thoughts:

Do you know anyone in the higher grade. Can you plan a get together with some of her future classmates and see how she interacts with them.

Does she know anyone else whose grade skipped? If this is becoming a more common intervention in your area would your principle be willing to send your contact information to a few parents whose kids have skipped with a request that they contact you. For my son and many of the other skipped kids in the area I know it has been really beneficial to know that they aren't alone. There are other kids who do this and they are not freaks. There are actually 5 of us who know about each other in my area. Those of us who have done it are always happy to set up a play date. We tell the kids that the other skipped or is thinking of skipping. Let them play and visit. Then the parents visit. It's a great chance for everyone to ask questions.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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#10 of 12 Old 09-08-2014, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, all. Just an update. I had an in-depth meeting with my daughter's teacher yesterday afternoon who, now having known my daughter for an extra six months, feels emotionally she may not be a great candidate for acceleration. Her teacher feels she may not quite survive all the rigours that, being way out of her comfort zone socially, and then academically on top of that, may impose. A few things cropped up with incidents that I wasn't aware of at school, and also as I gave the school more info to expand the pic of our daughter as a whole, I think they're thinking that it would just be a bad idea personality-wise - she is the ultra sensitive type who really 'needs' to fit in. Fortunately we've already set up a meeting with the school extension/enrichment teacher (who ran more group programs 'til this year when funding was cut) and principal etc. to look at setting up specific subject (english) extension with probably small pull-out groups. Initially my daughter had gone up to second grade for reading extension with a couple of kids she already knew from her ballet class. Her teacher specifically picked this scenario for her with a bunch of mild, friendly girls etc. There were a few practical hiccups with timetabling etc which made it not work sometimes which quite put my daughter off. Single subject acceleration here is almost unheard of. I think it would make her feel weird, which is why I didn't do it before. I have contacted the only two local people I know of who have accelerated their kids but most of them are much older boys and/or are hard to pin down. I think at this point I will roll with the school's recommendation of 'let's try to extend/enrich in English which was the original reason for exploring acceleration and leave her to be secure socially where she is' - especially knowing that my daughter definitely would not choose to move up if she had any say in the matter. She was quite adamant six months ago that she did not want to move. I guess my only other comment on some of the older kids is that some of them look so big!!! When my daughter was in the pre-school years and first year at school I was always glad that she was the eldest/quite tall as when she was younger she was never inclined to stick up for herself in tricky playground/social situations. Not that these occur all the time, but still, kids will be kids and everyone encounters some difficult times or the odd teasing or bullying behaviour occasionally. Fortunately a lot of the families at our local school do seem to be lovely and have pretty decent kids.

Thanks again for all thoughts and suggestions. May pop in with another update after our next school meeting.

Sorry for lack of paragraphs/cohesion! Two sick kids in front of telly and trying to type fast! Time for coffee...
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#11 of 12 Old 10-22-2014, 03:38 PM
 
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Our younger ds skipped midyear from first to second grade, and this had been planned from the beginning of the schoolyear after having done just math in second grade for the first few months. It helped that his friend followed the same path, and he became much less anxious about everything once the full transition was done.
Around the same time our older ds started becoming more frustrated in school with all the "extras" they were giving him, and the decision to let him skip was made very quickly to let him skip from 4th to 5th grade a bit over halfway through the year. They were both the youngest by far in their class, but socially they both fit in quite well.
Of course, if they didn't want it themselves it would have been a different story, but I would say the fact that it was in the middle of the year didn't make much of a difference. We are two years out now, the older one has started middle school and is doing well and the younger one (along with his friend) is still getting a lot of "extras" even in his current class.
I guess just keep a close eye on our daughter along with the school, you may want to revisit the idea later on again and she might be more ready then. Good luck, these are tough decisions.

mama to my August boys ('03 & '06)
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#12 of 12 Old 11-12-2014, 04:50 PM
 
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"It strikes me that if given a choice, she will probably never agree to leaving friends behind, and the later we wait, we might lose this opportunity altogether."
-Yes, curious to hear how it is going now. We faced the same problem but with a second grader who really wanted to move up in subjects but did not want to move out of his classroom. We moved him up fully because we did not think those twenty-minute segments here and there were going to be enough. Now we are grappling with whether it was the right choice, as he moved mid-year and is still (eight weeks later) settling in socially. However, to move him back would pose its own problems.
I am glad to hear some districts have a mandatory trial period; ours has been fuzzy and as a result, we are constantly wondering whether it is working or not. But academically he is much much happier, FWIW.
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