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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After much discussion with school staff, the time is here for us to tell our DD that we all believe that skipping a grade this fall (3rd-5th) is in her best interest. Obviously we want her buy-in, but knowing her, this will be a very emotional conversation and aftermath. We've decided that telling her a couple weeks before school ends will give her the time to process it internally and then she will be able to conclude the school year with her current class with the knowledge that she is moving on. Hopefully this will help her grieve the "loss" of this group of friends and prepare her for the upcoming separation. And then she will have summer to get excited about new friends and new opportunities.

Any specific advice from those of you who have had this conversation?
 

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Hmm I wonder whether a couple of weeks before next school year would be better. By then there will already be a natural summer-enforced distancing from her current friends, and she'll have much less time to dread entering school without having new friends... and enough time to get excited about the new challenges.

When I was supposedly entering 3rd grade I was told on the first day of school that I would be in 4th instead. That was too late. I was shocked and confused, I had no idea why I was left standing and waiting when names were called for the 3rd grade class assignments, and I had questions about what was happening that I couldn't ask anyone. That day was traumatic and I still remember it more than 40 years later. But I adapted really quickly after that, and I'm sure glad I didn't spend all summer stewing over it.

Our local school has multi-grade classes, so skipping doesn't tend to involve any social disconnection and my kids have not really had to deal with this issue.

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I would LOVE multi grade classrooms. That's in my pie-in-the-sky school I keep pitching to my husband ;)

Someone somewhere (perhaps her current teacher?) mentioned that parting from her current classmates knowing what is coming may help her process but also may help preserve some of those friendships by keeping the kids she's leaving from feeling betrayed. That and the fact that it may be brought up to her at school are two reasons we're considering it. It also consolidates some of the mourning elements into one rather than two instances--natural end of the school year only.

We've definitely struggled with the timing decision and initially thought it might be best to wait till August. Her teacher actually nudged us away from the idea because DD is such a processor that she'd likely still be very amped up still by the time school begins. The 5th grade has an event before school begins, and we want her to be acclimated to the idea by then. Additionally, we'd really love for the gossip and chatter to be done by the beginning of next year. I'm sure there still will be some, but if word gets out now, it is our hope that it will be "old news" by August. I'd be worried that her just "showing up" on the 5th grade class lists and at the 5th grade event would cause an unnecessary (and horrifying to her) hubbub.

At least those are the current thoughts on the timing, though I do appreciate other perspectives!
 

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It sounds to me like your dd's school is far more rigidly stratified by grade than any school environment I've ever been in. If kids from different grades do not see each other at school and have no opportunity to socialize and maintain friendships, that's a very different situation from what I was imagining, and I probably cannot offer any useful perspectives. The schools I'm familiar with have kids of all grades sharing the bus, and together on the playground before school, at recess and at lunch. While the kids tend to gravitate together in classroom-oriented clumps, the social distance between a 4th grader and a 5th grader is not all that different than the social difference between 5th graders in two different classes. From what you describe your dd will experience almost as much separation as if she were attending a different school: she won't be able to maintain her current friendships because she won't see her friends at all. If it's that disruptive a change then, yes, it probably makes sense to give her more time to process things.

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's not. I'm probably exaggerating it in my own worry. Our school is a pretty typical US elementary, though both recess and lunch are grade-specific and there is no recess time before and after school.
 

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It sounds like you have already decided on what to do, but just fyi, my son is in third grade and he has been able to stay in his "homeroom" with his 3rd grade pals, and he goes to things like art, music and gym with them, but he goes to the 5th grade classroom to do math, reads at his own (higher) level but in the 3rd grade classroom and also has some "pull out" time with the "gifted and talented" teacher. Not sure whether this would even be possible for your daughter but it has worked well for my son. His public school is very unusual though -- less than 50 kids K through 5 and only 3 teachers, so multi-age by necessity (but he still has to leave his "regular" classroom and go to the next one up to make this all happen). So, I realize this situation might represent a degree of flexibility not possible in other more traditional situations. I also generally get the impression that there is more resistance to boys skipping a grade on the thought that they mature more slowly and really can't handle it as well socially.
 

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I realize you have made up your mind but my hubby was skipped up a year in elm. because he was so bright and he never really caught up socially. He attributes his unease in social settings to being the youngest kid in class (though perhaps the brightest) .
 

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I realize you have made up your mind but my hubby was skipped up a year in elm. because he was so bright and he never really caught up socially. He attributes his unease in social settings to being the youngest kid in class (though perhaps the brightest) .
Not sure this is a helpful contribution to this thread.

However, your parenthetical comment is worth emphasizing. Maybe he's uneasy in social settings because despite the grade-skip he was always the brightest in his class and feared not being understood, feared coming off as weirdly precocious and braggy, feared bringing out classmates' insecurities.

Or maybe he's uneasy because he's got some mild social anxiety ... about 20% of adults do, and up to 50% of adults admit to being shy and occasionally finding social situations difficult, though most cope well.

Grade-skips are well documented to improve outcomes for appropriately selected gifted students.

http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/nation_deceived/executive_summary.aspx

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It sounds like you have already decided on what to do, but just fyi, my son is in third grade and he has been able to stay in his "homeroom" with his 3rd grade pals, and he goes to things like art, music and gym with them, but he goes to the 5th grade classroom to do math, reads at his own (higher) level but in the 3rd grade classroom and also has some "pull out" time with the "gifted and talented" teacher. Not sure whether this would even be possible for your daughter but it has worked well for my son. His public school is very unusual though -- less than 50 kids K through 5 and only 3 teachers, so multi-age by necessity (but he still has to leave his "regular" classroom and go to the next one up to make this all happen). So, I realize this situation might represent a degree of flexibility not possible in other more traditional situations. I also generally get the impression that there is more resistance to boys skipping a grade on the thought that they mature more slowly and really can't handle it as well socially.
We discussed the merits of a skip in another thread, so I'm sorry I didn't include the backstory. My DD is actually age appropriate albeit on the young end for the grade to which she will be moving (we late started her as a summer birthday due to some emotional regulation issues) and already has done subject acceleration in math and significant classroom differentiation in language arts/reading and goes to a full day pullout once a week. Her teacher is a gem but the others in the building would be wholly unable to meet her needs within the classroom. We pursued multi subject acceleration last year when we declined the skip offered but it wasn't logistically feasible. She does have friends in the grade above and tends to gravitate toward older kids anyway. Overall, she's a no-brainer for a skip on paper. I'm just concerned about the emotional impact as we discuss and implement it as she is sensitive, internalizes things and is very much an anxious over-thinker.

I realize you have made up your mind but my hubby was skipped up a year in elm. because he was so bright and he never really caught up socially. He attributes his unease in social settings to being the youngest kid in class (though perhaps the brightest) .
We have very few concerns as she will be age appropriate for the grade ahead. Our district is about 50/50 on redshirting summer birthdays, and we redshirted due to emotional regulation issues (and still needing a nap!) at 5. She also is a leader and very socially confident though she is an introvert. I am just worried about the actual transition and talking and walking through it with her. We actually are anticipating her needing some additional acceleration at least in math AFTER the skip so keeping her where she is will not serve her well at all. She's dissatisfied with school and begs for harder work.


Thanks Miranda :) as always!
 

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Realized I never really spoke to your original question. I would lean toward the option of telling her a few weeks before end of school. Sounds like you are anticipating a negative reaction about missing her friends, but would suggest to present it as a big plus, that you have been able to arrange for her to have more challenging work like she has been asking for and now she'll be in class with A, B, and C friends from next class up, isn't that great? Maybe she could bring in cupcakes or something to her old class as a "good-bye" and/or thanks to the teacher, see friends from both classes over the summer, etc.

I skipped a grade early on and was always the youngest in my class right up through high school graduation, but I was much happier in the higher grade because I wasn't bored to death anymore, and I never felt it affected me in an adverse way socially.

Best of luck to you and your daughter as this exciting transition unfolds!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Latte! We definitely know there are so many positives to this change, and we absolutely plan to emphasize how exciting it is for her. She is by nature a negative nelly so I'm preparing for that side of the conversation mentally. There's also the hidden downside that she's still going to be bored at school (she learns very quickly) since she still will be in a mixed ability classroom but we won't talk about that, yet. I think she will thrive as a younger kid in school going forward. Thanks for giving me some ideas to think about her parting from her classmates.
 

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How exciting and wonderful for you and your child! I am going through the same thing right now with a younger child - my son just turned 5 years old (finishing Pre-K) and his teacher and the school are recommending that he skip Kindergarten and go straight to 1st grade. So I understand the emotional setbacks/fears as I just had this conversation with my son's teacher. While this news certainly excited me, I also immediately felt ashamed for wanting to push my son possibly farther than he may be mentally prepared for at the moment. I am so proud of his brilliance and obviously proud that the school feels he is ready to advance beyond his peers; however, I am also worried about the ramifications of making him the smallest and youngest in a setting of older children. He may be aligned with them intellectually, but his maturity and lack of physical development in regards to other children he would potentially be around does concern me. I am not able to homeschool, so I am always fearful of bullying or anything that could possibly go wrong outside of my watch. I will certainly miss his Pre-K teacher; she has been absolutely amazing and alleviated my fears about placing him in public school. She values holistic learning, natural health, and even provided organic snacks for the children, or at the very least, insisted that the school cafeteria only provide fresh fruits and vegetables for snack time when she was unable to bring snacks for his class.

So while I may not have him skipping an entire grade, his teacher and I are talking about him being placed in 1st grade reading classes and other advanced placement settings so he can still thrive and be challenged appropriately. But I don't want him to be in shock at suddenly being faced with harder challenges rather than gradual integration of advanced placement. He is just 5, after all, and I forget that fact sometimes simply because he is so intelligent and articulate.

I know you and your family will choose what is best for your child, and I wish wisdom and encouragement for you no matter what the outcome may be!
 

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I'd be careful. My sister skipped 6th grade and it was a total disaster. By 9th grade she was so frustrated with being "gifted" and a "nerd" she purposely got all D's which of course goes on your transcript for college applications. She is now in her last year of a Ph.D in theoretical mathematics at Rutgers and recently hired by Columbia (she lives in Manhattan) for her work in computational topology (which is potentially groundbreaking), but she is 35 years old. It was a very long road for her to get where she is now. I also have a ridiculously gifted child who will be starting the full time gifted program in our district next year for 3rd grade. While agonizing how to do the right thing for this child I spoke to her often. She said something I will never ever forget. "It isn't a race." She was not talking about the time it took her to get where she is. Most mathematicians do their best work when they are younger. Was skipping the grade to blame or would it have happened the way it did anyway? There's no way to know, but I do know she was extremely unhappy until she was finally able to pursue higher level math in her late twenties. Ideally, she probably should have just been pulled from school, but they did not have all of the online programs they do today. They didn't even have the internet back then and we lived in a small town where there were very few options. The school approached my parents about skipping her and they trusted it was the right decision.

Plenty of kids do just fine skipping a grade. Plenty do not and the backlash can be significant. This is only one anecdotal example so take it with a grain, but sometimes that leg up of one year can backfire.

Anyway, I don't really mean to sound dire, because everyone is different. I just know first hand that skipping is not always the right solution to challenge a child who is bored academically, especially if it is going to be a significant strain socially and emotionally. Even very gifted children can rebel. Sometimes in ways you least expect, but just as damaging. How a child reacts to adolescence is very difficult to predict, even for very "mature" children and\or gifted children.

We all consider all the information available to us and try to make the very best decisions for our children and we all make mistakes, some big, hopefully most small. I do share my sister's experience when I have the opportunity because I think it is worth noting and it is just more information for those grappling with this very difficult decision. I would simply feel remiss not to share it and she would too.
 

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Please read the details of the thread. This is not a traditional grade skip. The child is being put into the grade that she normally would have been in based on her age. She was held back to start kindergarten a year late out of a desire to ensure more social readiness, and it is now apparent that this was unnecessary and is no longer serving her well.

Miranda
 

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Please read the details of the thread. This is not a traditional grade skip. The child is being put into the grade that she normally would have been in based on her age. She was held back to start kindergarten a year late out of a desire to ensure more social readiness, and it is now apparent that this was unnecessary and is no longer serving her well.

Miranda
My apologies. Sometimes I personalize the situations of others without taking a step back. I think everyone here likely has done a lot of research and soul searching. My parents had no real resources and were out of their element. Grade skipping for children bored academically was the norm back then and I know they no longer do it unless it really is in the best interest of the child.

I also should have informed myself with the OP's situation and the folks who frequent here who have much more informed opinions than my own before jumping in with the BEWARE BEWARE posts. I do think this will likely be a good place for me to get some much needed information and advise, but some time familiarizing myself with the world of the "gifted child" is probably in order.

Apologies to the OP again.
 

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No worries, kerrielou, we all have our personal baggage and this is generally a pretty accepting, outside-the-box forum. I'm a former grade-skipper, sibling to three grade-skippers and mother to four more, and I probably come down more heavily on the pro-skip side than I should sometimes, since all contexts and all children are different.

miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So while I may not have him skipping an entire grade, his teacher and I are talking about him being placed in 1st grade reading classes and other advanced placement settings so he can still thrive and be challenged appropriately. But I don't want him to be in shock at suddenly being faced with harder challenges rather than gradual integration of advanced placement. He is just 5, after all, and I forget that fact sometimes simply because he is so intelligent and articulate.
I think it wise to try subject acceleration before full grade skip when feasible. Our pre-K teacher suggested early K entry for my 2nd daughter which at the time was sensible academically. However, we didn't think it the best option and sent her with age mates. Now in 2nd grade, she is ahead but not wildly so. She probably would have been fine a grade ahead but also is thriving where she is. We tried subject acceleration with my grade skipper but landed on grade skip when she was being accelerated in every subject and still wanting more challenges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just to update, the skip is a go and we talked with her last week. She is excited about the challenge and sad about leaving her friends--the reaction was exactly what we anticipated. She will be able to share the news with her classmates this week before school ends and start fresh in the fall. All of us are feeling positive about the change!
 
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