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Old 03-22-2013, 12:00 PM   #1
adventure_woman
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OT - child skipping a grade

This is OT, but this is where I go to get advice, so here it goes!

My DD is 6 and in kindergarten. Her b-day is 9/30, so she could have gone to 1st grade, but I have always been one that didn't want her to be the youngest kid in the class. When she started kindergarten, she was already reading at a 4th grade level. She was also ready socially, etc - it was just her b-day and thinking about when she was a teen that made me hold her back. She also wasn't as advanced then as she is now. She goes to a small private Christian school and there are a total of 11 kids in her class (there are 2 kindergartens). She goes 3 full-days. I have been told by her teacher and the advanced children liasion at the school that she is gifted (I have no clue - she is my 1st so to me she is 'normal').

She doesn't like school now - hasn't for the past 2 months or so. I have asked several people and they all say at this age children should love school and not hate it. I have pretty much determined it is because she is bored (not problems w/ friends/etc). I have been talking to her teacher and she is also trying to work with her. So, now we are thinking (and praying) about the possibility of her skipping 1st grade and going to 2nd for next year.

Has anyone had experience with this? I am already starting to beef up her math skills so she isn't behind if we do this. (which she is catching onto really quickly too). She also currently plays during recess with the current 1st graders, so socially I don't think it would a big adjustment. And, not that it has anything to do with anything, but she will be starting violin next week (so we will see how she takes to that).

I am at a loss of what to do. I never thought I would have a Doogie Howsier!
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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My cousin did this with her daughter and regretted it when she hit middle and high school. All of her friends were dating and such. She was not allowed because of her age. Also everyone in her class was starting to drive well before her. They also kept her from sports just because she was not as developed as the older girls. Those are just a few things they did not factor in. Also she said to me she was uncomfortable the first year of college because she was 17. She could not go into bars that were 18 to enter 21 to drink like her friends. There are many positives I am sure, but here are a few negatives I am aware of.

Good luck with your daughter.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:40 PM   #3
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My best friends first child was also born on 9/30. She was very bright and her mom didn't want her being held back another year because the public schools had that for a cutoff date. So she put her in a private school for K and 1st (a year ahead of when the public schools would have allowed) and then moved her to public school in 2nd (thus bypassing the age cutoff requirement.)

Long story short, everything was fine. The girl was always the youngest in her class, other kids were driving almost a full year before she was, and she was still 17 when she started college. But she's a bright girl (studying engineering) and socially very adept, so they managed to work out whatever issues came up over the years and all is well.

Keep in mind that this is not uncommon with girls - in general, they tend to progress faster than boys in the early years. (Yes, moms of advanced boys, I know there are exceptions, but that's why I said 'in general')

My daughter was reading "at the sixth grade" level in 2nd grade, so I asked her teacher why she was still having her read 2nd-3rd-4th grade level books, and she very wisely said, because there are age appropriate situations in these books, and many books written at the 6th grade level are too mature for what you want a second grader to read. So don't be in too much of a rush to push your daughter in every facet of her capabilities - let her be a kid and enjoy age appropriate activities as long as she will. My friend's very bright daughter was 'bored' with Walt Disney World at 10 - I think that's kind of a shame, don't you? I contribute a bit of that to the kid being treated as a too bright, too mature child who was 'above' such childish pleasures.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenndisney View Post
My cousin did this with her daughter and regretted it when she hit middle and high school. All of her friends were dating and such. She was not allowed because of her age. Also everyone in her class was starting to drive well before her. They also kept her from sports just because she was not as developed as the older girls. Those are just a few things they did not factor in. Also she said to me she was uncomfortable the first year of college because she was 17. She could not go into bars that were 18 to enter 21 to drink like her friends. There are many positives I am sure, but here are a few negatives I am aware of.

Good luck with your daughter.
I agree with your cousin - this is exactly why I didn't send her and held her back... My concern is will she be bored next year also due to being so advanced already? Her school does elementary wide testing in mid-April, so that should give us a better indicator of exactly where she is academically.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:43 PM   #5
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It would definitely be the maturity factor I would worry about. I have a 6 year old kindergartner and an 8 year old second grader. I couldn't imaging my 6 year old going to 2nd grade next year. My DD6 likes to play cats, and my DD8 is having sleepovers and listening to One Direction on her Ipod. I'm guessing since it's a small school there is not a gifted program or teacher? Maybe you could spend some time visiting with the second grade and get a feel for the level of the kids maturity before deciding whether it would be a good fit for your daughter.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2TxAgs View Post
My daughter was reading "at the sixth grade" level in 2nd grade, so I asked her teacher why she was still having her read 2nd-3rd-4th grade level books, and she very wisely said, because there are age appropriate situations in these books, and many books written at the 6th grade level are too mature for what you want a second grader to read.
I have thought about this too - she has already read all the AG books - by this summer I'm going to have to find other series for her to read as much of the content in other books are too old for a 6 year old!

My concern is just for her to be happy and enjoy school - which is not happening at this moment.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:46 PM   #7
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There are a few things to consider. First, your child is of the right age to be in first grade now, so it should be expected that she is performing like other first graders. You decided to hold her back based on her birthday instead of her skills, so it kind of makes sense that she is not challenged by kindergarten. As more parents "red-shirt" their kids (because they want them to be older, or bigger for sports, or be the first to get their driver's license), they usually find that their kids are bored and wonder why the teachers don't do more to stimulate them. One of my kids has a summer birthday, while one is more in the middle of the school year. My summer DD has kids who are more than a year older than she is in her class.

Second, kindergarteners are all over the place academically. Kindergarten teachers have it rough - some kids can't spell their names, while others have been reading chapter books for a year or more. Both of my kids have tested as "gifted" - one was reading chapter books well before kindergarten, while the other wasn't above grade level for reading until third grade (but her math scores have always been through the roof, and she is a few years above her grade now for reading). Kids have a tendency to "catch up" by third grade - the smartest, most advanced kids in kindergarten are not necessarily the most advanced in middle school, but they can still be gifted.

If she is truly gifted and not just advanced compared to five year olds, she should have no trouble academically, and you are back to why you held her back in the first place (not to be the youngest). My summer DD is the youngest in her class, but she has the highest grades, takes the toughest courses, and does fine socially. But I have a friend with a September DD who sent her on - her DD is fine academically, but she is ostracized by some of the "cool" kids because she is so much more immature than the girls who are a year or more older than she is.

I also have a friend with a second grader who has mastered long division and fractions and reads on a high school level. He is an amazing kid. She has chosen not to allow him to skip a grade because he is smaller and not as "street smart" as the boys a year or two older.

In your case, your DD will be with kids that are her age if you skip first, since she could be in first now. But the reasons that you didn't send her on in the first place still apply.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:48 PM   #8
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I have an August birthday, I graduated high school at 17. School was never hard; I really disliked being so young in high school; dating, driving....

DS is younger, April birthday. DD is even younger, July birthday - she entered K when she could but I strongly considered having her wait a year so she wouldn't graduate at 17 like me.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:56 PM   #9
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I have a lot of experience with this issue; my two children were extremely gifted, and I would not have considered letting then skip a grade. I thought it was better to keep them with their age level peers (and I was right) and provide enrichment activities outside of school. We were lucky to live in a school district with a fairly good gifted and talented magnet program at the elementary school level.

I would take what the teachers say with a grain of salt about her being gifted, unless they have done testing. You would have known without being told by the teachers if your child was intellectually exceptional; it's usually obvious from a very young age. Maybe there is another issue? You could always have her tested. Skipping a grade probably isn't going to solve any problem and many schools don't do this anymore anyway.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:01 PM   #10
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If she gets to high school and you feel she is having trouble because of her age you could always do a foreign exchange or something similar that would hold her back a year so she would get her license at the same time as others in her grade and when she graduates she will be 18.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:02 PM   #11
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Late September birthday means she turns the new age just after school starts, right? I'm mid-October and it was NEVER a problem for me. I was a tremendously shy child but it certainly wasn't because of my age. I wasn't even the youngest in the class; the youngest was a very self-assured and strong person.

Sure almost all of my friends drove before me, but hey, I had friends that could drive me places! College started in August, so I was 17 for two months and then I was 18 just like everyone else. Being 21 late, well, hate to tell ya, but most college kids I knew started drinking LONG before that birthday so it only kept me from the bars, which meant it kept me from driving after drinking and from drinking expensive bar drinks/beers.

Isn't she now one of the oldest in her class? I have two brothers who were among the oldest, and it was no more or less comfortable for them. One had a birthday that fell naturally so he was one of the oldest, and the other was held back. In the latter's case, he was very popular b/c of driving others around, and I'm sure he was popular in college because he was the one who could buy the booze.

The last siblings had birthdays in the same week as the one who was held back, but they were far more outgoing in K and so didn't repeat it, and I have never once heard them talk negatively about being the youngest in the class.


One of my best friends was already young (mid-November birthday) and then was sent forward a year, so she was 16 when she started college. I met her two years later. Tremendously strong, self-assured woman, very smart. She was a naturally modest person and was happy to live in the all-women's dorm (I, at 17, lived in the coed-by-door dorm...different personalities) for her first year, and she had her sister in law school in the same area so she had family around, which was nice for her. Due to nature, she was never even held back in physical maturity, as the women in her family mature young (I was in bras pretty young, too), so there was no teasing about that.


I know no one personally that had a problem, lasting or otherwise, by being younger. Grades are made up by a variety of ages; some are older, some are younger, but most do end up the "proper" age for the grade at some point during the year. (talking about your situation where you chose the younger grade and are now thinking of putting her in the other grade she could have been in...not my friend's where she was already young and then was moved up a grade to be even younger)


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I never thought I would have a Doogie Howsier!
I don't discount her intelligence, but you said yourself that she would have been in 1st if you hadn't held her back. In a big way, if you put her forward you are basically just putting her where she could have been.

The reading is great, just be careful with WHAT she reads. I was tested as reading at a "13th" grade level in 4th grade, and it got me nothing but near-sightedness and really REALLY inappropriate books for my age.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:12 PM   #12
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I think moving her up a grade would be fine. Here in NY, the state deadline for starting Kindergarten is December 31st - the kid must turn 5 by this date. Your daughter would not have been the youngest in the grade by any stretch here in NY.

When it comes time, she won't be very far behind everyone else - they might get their permits the summer before junior year, she can get hers a month after school starts. Same with college - she will turn 18 one month after starting. My Bday is August 24th, so I started Kindergarten (reading chapter books) 10 days after turning 5.

If you decide not to skip the grade, maybe think about extra enrichment outside of school, but not things that will put her even farther ahead. IE: don't get her extra math lessons, but let her take danec lessons, or explore a passion/love of hers like insects or trees or cats. This can help keep her occupied without causing more school troubles.

Whatever you decide - good luck!
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:15 PM   #13
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It's not skipping a grade. It is putting her in the grade that she belongs in.

Where I live the cut off is on or before 12/1. So plenty of kids start kindergarten at 4, including my son with an October b-day. He is 13 and in 8th grade and doing just fine.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Where I live the cut off is on or before 12/1.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheap traveler View Post
Here in NY, the state deadline for starting Kindergarten is December 31st - the kid must turn 5 by this date.
Interesting, around these parts children must be 5 before the start of the school year to start K.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:32 PM   #15
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As hard as this may be to hear, a private Christian School may not be your best bet. Our son "has a powerful mind" (we do not like the word gifted.) He was reading before Kindergarten, he has a June B-Day. We put him in a private Kindergarten because it was 5 days a week, all day long. When it came time for 1st grade the school warned us that he would be bored with the 1st grade. We started looking and most schools just wanted to move him to second grade. We were able to get him tested and into the highly capable program in our local school district and it was by far the best move. They have all of the tools to cope with "gifted" children and our school even had monthly parent meetings to give us the tools and education on how to best deal with these special children. There is a great deal of responsability with having a "gifted" child. Good luck to you! It is a hard decission, I remember all we went through - I don't wish it on anyone.
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