Skipping Kindergarten - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Parenting the Gifted Child > Skipping Kindergarten
ChristaN's Avatar ChristaN 02:25 AM 01-02-2008
Karen, Can you expand on what was so difficult re your skipping and social aspects? I am interested b/c we are getting close to making a decision re skipping my older dd for next year.

My one friend who was grade skipped seems to have had a similar experience to yours -- she regrets it for social reasons. That is so much the opposite of what the Templeton Report on acceleration says that I don't know what to believe.

A&A's Avatar A&A 02:27 AM 01-02-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
That is so much the opposite of what the Templeton Report on acceleration says
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Icequeen_in_ak's Avatar Icequeen_in_ak 02:40 AM 01-02-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
Karen, Can you expand on what was so difficult re your skipping and social aspects? I am interested b/c we are getting close to making a decision re skipping my older dd for next year.

My one friend who was grade skipped seems to have had a similar experience to yours -- she regrets it for social reasons. That is so much the opposite of what the Templeton Report on acceleration says that I don't know what to believe.
In the elementary years, I was never physically equal to the older children, so any time we had any team events, I was always the one never chosen because I was so much smaller and weaker than everyone else in my class (as I should have been... I was 2-3 years younger than them). By middle school, all of my classmates had breasts... mine were no where to be found (it didn't help that I was a late bloomer anyway, not starting my period till I was 14!) so I was socially outcast because I just didn't "fit in" with all the other girls my age. High school was brutal. Again, I was physically way behind all my peers. The boys weren't interested because I was just so young. I missed proms, home comings, etc. I was a cheerleader and that was the only thing I had to make me somewhat "normal", but the differences were so blatantly obvious that I just never fit in.

I vividly remember my sophomore year, when all of my classmates were getting their drivers licenses and I wasn't even old enough to get a learners permit.

I started college at 15. Again, I never fit in with anyone. I was the "baby on campus" who wasn't even old enough to drive and was again alienated. I finished my degree in an accelerated program and graduated with my BA the exact same time I would have graduated from high school.

I really feel like I missed out on so many things that all of my peers got to experience. I really don't want that for my daughter. Since her birthday makes her fall into the following year (not able to start kindy till almost 6) I wouldn't mind letting her skip a year later on, because she'll still be with kids very close to her age, but I'd never do more than that. I want her to experience all the things that I didn't have the chance to. I really feel like a lot of my childhood was stripped away from me. Everyone else was focusing on my abilities.... they forgot about the more important social aspect of it.
Icequeen_in_ak's Avatar Icequeen_in_ak 02:45 AM 01-02-2008
I forgot to add:

If I could have had an opportunity to focus on more AP courses and programs that some areas have available now, I would have been much happier.

Our charter school here takes the gifted children to the university at middle and high school age and lets them attend classes that suit their needs. They still get the mental stimulation, but for the other 5 hours of the day, they are at their school with kids their age.

It's much easier to accept your gift when it doesn't alienate you from your peers. Going to a few college classes during the day would have been a million times better than being a child in an adult world. At least for me.
eilonwy's Avatar eilonwy 02:54 AM 01-02-2008
See, I find this so ironic. I developed early, and despite being one of the youngest kids in my class (often the youngest) I was the first to get my period, the first to grow boobs, etc. I didn't fit in, either, but it had less to do with my own social (and physical) differences than the fact that I had nothing of note to discuss with my classmates. How sociable can you be with a group of people who aren't even aware of the things that concern you so much that you're having nightmares about them? They didn't understand the things that I was talking about. Yeah, I was fully sixteen before I could make myself clear to my "peers" on anything like a regular basis, and I was more like nineteen before I was able to function in a group-- in college, with my *actual* peers. Gamer geeks instantly recognized me for what I was: One of them. (Interestingly, these folks were great friends to me despite the fact that they all acknowledged that I was the most intelligent of them by a significant margin.) I think, though, that if I had been in college at fourteen or fifteen, I'd have had a much easier time finding intellectual peers-- people worth talking to-- than I did in high school. It certainly couldn't have been *more* difficult.
ChristaN's Avatar ChristaN 02:56 AM 01-02-2008
Thanks for your reply.

We've kept dd with her age mates thus far -- she's a young 4th grader (one the other side of the K cut-off of your dd). It still hasn't been the best social fit. The other kids have never seemed to "get" her. She's doing pretty well this year socially and has rarely been a target for bullies, but she's just an "old soul" and her interests are so divergent from the other kids that they tend to view her as odd.

My hope has been that, if we do decide to skip her, that it would help socially, not hurt. I just figure that she wouldn't have to advertise the fact that she was skipped and the other kids might just assume that she was short (she'd be starting middle school early, so it wouldn't be obvious like skipping at the same school she currently attends).

The thing that I have such a hard time deciding about is that the Templeton report says much what I have been hoping -- that skipping is a social benefit. However, anecdotes I hear say the opposite, and I just don't know what to believe.

For the OP, though, the age thing may be less of an issue as it sounds like her dd would be of avg age if she started her in K next year and younger by 6 months than the youngest kids if she put her in 1st. That isn't such a drastic difference, so maybe there is less to worry about.
Icequeen_in_ak's Avatar Icequeen_in_ak 03:19 AM 01-02-2008
Rynna,
I won't disagree that intellectual stimulation from my peers was vastly lacking. That is a given, but I guess I had grown up to never expect it from them. I found it in my parents friends, whom I had great friendships with (especially since both of my parents were pretty much checked out of my life). Maybe that was the difference for me. I had no expectation of it, therefore it didn't bother me. I hated feeling like an outsider all the time. The older kids were too cool to "talk to the kid in the class". I remember how mean kids can be

I see what you describe with my daughter already. She talks to kids her age about things they've never heard of and they look at her like she's got a third eye. I almost think she's developing the same attitude I did. She doesn't expect them to get it, therefore she's not disappointed that they don't
eilonwy's Avatar eilonwy 10:19 AM 01-02-2008
I suppose I did keep expecting someone to get it; After all, i had siblings who did, and a mother who did, how hard could it possibly be? If there's a disadvantage to growing up in a family of profoundly gifted people, this is probably it. It never occurred to me that I was *that* far outside of the realm of "normal" because I lived with a bunch of people for whom it wasn't at all strange.
A&A's Avatar A&A 12:15 AM 01-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post

The thing that I have such a hard time deciding about is that the Templeton report says much what I have been hoping -- that skipping is a social benefit. However, anecdotes I hear say the opposite, and I just don't know what to believe.

.
Just adding that my dd has been helped socially by skipping. She's closer to kids who "get her." (although she has such divergent thinking that she'll never be right where other kids get her.........regardless of her grade.)
Rivka5's Avatar Rivka5 06:14 PM 01-04-2008
I skipped kindergarten, and started first grade seven weeks before my fifth birthday.

It was the right thing to do academically. In fact, about two weeks into first grade the decision was made to send me to a second grade classroom for reading, and I continued to be, well, sort of haphazardly accellerated throughout elementary school.

Emotionally, I don't think I was ready to start first grade at almost-five. I remember struggling to fit in to school habits and rules that my classmates who had been kindergarteners had already learned - such as that you have to do all the work even if you already know what you're doing. And I got a lot of "headaches" and "stomachaches" in first grade, which I think were mostly excuses to get out of class and go to the nurse's office to lie down for a while.

After that year, I don't think emotional/social issues were a factor anymore. I didn't fit in too well socially, but I fit in even less well with the year behind me. I just wasn't a very socially-skilled, popular child.
Naomi's Avatar Naomi 07:44 PM 01-04-2008
I grade-skipped at age 10, going from 5th to 6th grade midway through the year. It was not a great solution, in my case, especially as I was at a private school that was equipped to give me challenging work in my 5th grade classroom. When I was 13, my family spent a year in England; grade skipping was not permitted, so I went back in with my age-mates. I decided I prefered it that way.

My dh started K at age 4 (he has a November birthday). He really did not like being the youngest in his class.

The fact that our experiences with being the youngest kid in class were not positive makes both of us much warier of accelleration.

My older daughter is currently in a mixed-age classroom of first through third graders. She does a lot of her work with third graders (she's a first grader) and she really does NOT fit in well with them; the year has gone well academically but has been rocky socially.
dimibella's Avatar dimibella 08:27 PM 01-05-2008
I wish we had made the decision to have DS skip kindergarten, but DH was pretty against it and I am kicking myself now. If you feel your child is emotionally and mental ready, I say go for it. Not skipping has caused nothing but problems for us IMO because DS thinks school is all about play, I'll get notes sent home from school with worksheets saying, "please have D work on this at home he was having trouble with it today" and I look at the worksheet with great frustration because I know that it is something DS can do so easily, I give it to him ask him to do it and he returns 2min later with it completed and 100% correct, of course. They don't push him whatsoever and he manipulates them, I feel badly saying that about my son but he completely manipulates his teachers and doesn't really take them seriously and I've finally stepped in to try and fix this before more damage is done. Sorry for the rant.. : but this has been a frustrating topic for me.
A&A's Avatar A&A 10:12 PM 01-05-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by dimibella View Post
I wish we had made the decision to have DS skip kindergarten, but DH was pretty against it and I am kicking myself now. If you feel your child is emotionally and mental ready, I say go for it. Not skipping has caused nothing but problems for us IMO because DS thinks school is all about play, I'll get notes sent home from school with worksheets saying, "please have D work on this at home he was having trouble with it today" and I look at the worksheet with great frustration because I know that it is something DS can do so easily, I give it to him ask him to do it and he returns 2min later with it completed and 100% correct, of course. They don't push him whatsoever and he manipulates them, I feel badly saying that about my son but he completely manipulates his teachers and doesn't really take them seriously and I've finally stepped in to try and fix this before more damage is done. Sorry for the rant.. : but this has been a frustrating topic for me.
why not skip a grade now? Your kid's not "manipulating" them; he's just seriously bored.
heythere heather's Avatar heythere heather 12:25 AM 01-07-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
why not skip a grade now? Your kid's not "manipulating" them; he's just seriously bored.
Exactly. It's not an all-or-nothing thing.

My conservative advice would be to start with K with the understanding that you may skip into 1st if it's not working (or skip to 2nd the next year.) To continue with age peers until it becomes clear it won't work, yet being proactive so failure doesn't happen first.

But we (general "we") go back and forth on this issue, and there are anecdotes and studies on both sides--kids benefit socially and academically vs. kids benefit academically (maybe) but hurt socially.

I tend to think that there's no clear answer. Some kids will definitely benefit from acceleration (even radical acceleration), while some will benefit to enriching their education with age peers, or finding another solution (homeschooling, school for gifted kids, school with alternative and more flexible curricula, etc). It could be different for the same kid based on the setting.

For example, I know that the local public school wouldn't work for my DS with his age peers. For public schools, he'd be a young 1st grader (Nov birthday). I volunteer in that classroom, and I know it wouldn't work. They do Open Court for language arts, and it's a scripted curriculum without much room for individual levels. He would have to sit through 1.5 hours a day of instruction at the 1st grade level. However, he's reading at the 6th grade level.

Same with math, the other area where the public school spends the most time. He'd have to sit and do the same workbook pages with the class, and he's doing 3rd grade and up math.

So, acceleration wouldn't even work, and so we'd be left with radical acceleration. He's not ready for that right now. If my only option was the public school, we'd be homeschooling.
ponymama's Avatar ponymama 05:25 PM 01-13-2008
We had my dd skip kindergarten because she was gifted. She is now 13 and my dh and I think that we made a mistake. I feel it was a mistake because while she is a year younger than her classmates and is continuing to succeed academically (CTY awards and full scholarships to private high schools etc.), she is not as mature as her classmates are and it is beginning to hurt her socially. I know that kids mature at different rates but I do see a lag in her development in certain areas outside of academia. (Not to mention the fact that she will not start driving until the end of her senior year in high school)

I think that to advance a child is a big decision and it involves more than intelligence. Thre are many ways to supplement the education of a gifted child (CTY and CMITES, for example). Advancement is not always the answer and the effects will not be seen until later on.
nancy926's Avatar nancy926 03:37 PM 01-14-2008
Icequeen, your experience sounds awful. But...it is possible to have a bad high school experience and not "fit in" and still be the same age as everyone else. That was my experience. Academically, I probably "should" have skipped at least one grade. But that didn't happen. Even with similar-aged kids, I still felt left out and different. Skipping one grade probably wouldn't have helped me much academically (in K I was doing mostly 3rd-grade-level work), and I'm almost positive it would have made things worse socially.

I'm just saying that being in the "right" grade for her age doesn't guarantee your child a good social experience. I am not sure some gifted kids will fit in at some schools at all, whether you skip them or not.

teachma - are you sure your school wouldn't allow homeschooling? Even here in VT (which is surprisingly highly regulated for HSing), kids can skip kindy if they are HS for kindy or put in a private school for kindy.
teachma's Avatar teachma 05:40 PM 01-14-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by nancy926 View Post
teachma - are you sure your school wouldn't allow homeschooling? Even here in VT (which is surprisingly highly regulated for HSing), kids can skip kindy if they are HS for kindy or put in a private school for kindy.
My daughter could skip kindergarten if I homeschooled her during the year that should be her kindergarten year (2009-10). Then, she could enter first grade with her same-aged peers at the same time she's enter first grade had she attended the public school's kindergarten program. But I want to accellerate her, and what we can't do is homeschool her while she's 4 and then have her enter 1st grade during the 2009-10 school year. However...in the past couple of weeks, we are making some progress with possibly having the public school admit her to K a year early. Don't want to derail this thread, but I'll post elsewhere about our ordeal.
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