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Thread: Thoughts/experiences with double promotion in grade school

  1. #1
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    Thoughts/experiences with double promotion in grade school

    I'm not sure if my title of this thread makes sense, but here goes! Actually, I'm hoping some teachers and other moms with kids who may have been in similar situations can give me some perspective.

    My son Jameson is 7. His birthday is the end of September and he is in first grade. He is really excelling in school, loves to read and just finished the fourth Harry Potter book. He hates to do his homework, he says it's too easy. We've asked the teachers to challenge him a bit more but I'm not too sure how much they can do in 1st grade. Our school has honors classes starting in third grade. We've also been having him do some extra things that he brings into school. Like writing the names of countries and their capitals (his idea!), making a book (he drew the pictures and wrote the story).

    Anyway, I guess at his parent/teacher conference, the teacher mentioned to my DH (I was sick with the flu so I didn't go) that Jameson could move into second grade then if we wanted him to. This was a couple months ago. DH never mentioned it to me; I guess he didn't give it much thought. It came up this weekend because Jameson told me one of his friends from his class was now in second grade. So I mentioned it to DH and he said they told him Jameson could move up.

    So, to make a long story short , what are the pros and cons of having him move into second now or go to third in September? Actually, to me it seems a bit late in the year to do it now. I'm leaning towards keeping him where he is. I'm a little worried that although right now he is doing great, that he might struggle later on if the work is harder. If they give us the option of promoting him to third next year, should we think about it?

  2. #2
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    I was promoted as a kid and it made all the difference. i was SO bored with where I was. Not a parent, but as a kid who experienced it, I would say wait till next year. Moving into a new class in the middle of the school year can be really upsetting for some people. I know it was for me. The best school I went to was very small, so all grades were together and they mixed my curriculum so that while in grade three math, I was doing four science and six reading.
    Understand, when you eat meat, that something did die. You have an obligation to value it - not just the sirloin but also all those wonderful tough little bits.
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  3. #3
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    I would have no problems with him moving up if the teacher thinks he is ready. There is nothing worse than being bored in class and working at a level that is below your means. However, maybe instead of putting him in second now, the teacher could let him attend some 2nd grade classes (the ones he really excels at) and go back and forth for a bit to see how he does and fits in. That way, if he is hesitant about moving up now, he can easily go back to where he was.

    I "skipped" the 4th grade, and was always one of the younger ones in the class. I don't think I ever suffered for it. However, I remember that it was a gradual move as I was doing 2nd grade work in the 1st grade, some 3rd grade work in the 2nd, etc. The school I attended had some split classes where two grades were combined which allowed the teachers to let the students who excelled do so. For example, the advanced 2nd graders would be in a 2/3 class rather than just a grade 2.

    Since your son has a Sept. birthday, I am assuming that the cut off at your school to start K is Sept.1. There are some schools cut off Oct. 1 and others, in Ontario where we used to live, Dec. 31, so if he had been living in those areas, he would already be in the 2nd grade anyway.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    OMG, skipping a grade was the best thing ever. I was so bored. From the time I was in Kindergarten I was taking most of my classes in a higher level class (1st grade in Kindergarten, 2nd in 1st, 3rd in 2nd), and my realy class was just sorta like my homeroom, where I went to take a nap and have a snack. I was reading/comprehending on a 12th grade level by the time I was in 2nd grade, and the teachers were actually getting exhausted trying to find stuff for me to do, and I'd read every book in the school library, including the entire set of World Book Encyclopedias (1974 edition) . Since our AG classes didn't start until 4th grade, they promoted me to 4th grade at the end of 2nd. It was much better, though most of the work was still too easy. I was socially weird anyway, and didn't get along with people my own age, so being with people a little older wasn't any worse. My only reservations would be if your son is a lot smaller than kids his age or if he has a lot of friends in his grade. I wasn't and I didn't.

    I did have to go through math tutoring because I had (and still have) average to weak math skills.



    If your son wants to do it I would with no reservations.
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  5. #5
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    I also skipped a grade (in my case 6th), and it ended up working out great for me. I was always the youngest person in my class, but that never really bothered me (although everyone playfully teased me when I couldn't get my driver's license at the same time as them....but I didn't care and actually didn't end up getting it until after I graduated anyways). The only thing you may want to consider is that nowadays it is becoming more and more common for boys to be "held back", so in some cases he may be 2 full years younger than others in his grade. But if you don't think he would mind being younger than everyone, you should probably consider letting him move up. I would talk to the teachers a bit more about it - see what they have to say, and then go from there. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    I was also promoted as a kid. I skipped the first grade and went directly from kindergarten into second grade.

    I had also entered school early (at 4 1/2) and therefore I was a LOT younger than my classmates my whole life. I graduated high school at 16 and college at 20.

    If your son skips a grade, how much younger will it make him compared to the other kids?

    I think I had problems after being promoted that were unique to the fact that I was at least 1 1/2 and usually two years younger than everyone else in my grade. It got particularly weird when I was in college and all of my friends could go to the bar legally except me (although I figured out a way around that ). Same with getting my driver's license -- I was a year or two behind everyone else with that too, which meant I had to bum rides from friends and have them pick me up most of the way through high school.

    Also, one of the problems I had, that your son may or may not have, is that I matured physically later in school than other girls and it caused me some embarrassment. It doesn't seem like a big deal now, but it was a big deal at the time.

    Over time, though, the age difference mattered less and less. Usually I had friends who were even older than the people in my grade -- my best friend sophomore through senior year was 3 years ahead of me in school. I have always gotten along better with people older than me -- my husband is 6 years older, if that gives you any idea.

    The academic benefits, however, were great. It was a looong time ago but I do remember being extremely bored in school when I was little. I could read at age 4, so sitting through the "let's learn our letters" lessons were pointless for me. The whole idea to promote me came after an incident where I went around the classroom and read the other kids the instructions for an assignment before the teacher had a chance to.

    As for moving him up now or moving him into third next fall -- that's a tough call. It's hard to switch classes in the middle of the year. He might feel more comfortable about making the switch at the beginning of a new school year, when you would normally have to get used to a new teacher and class anyway.

    I don't regret my parents' decision to promote me. If I hadn't been skipped I would probably have gotten so bored with school I would have ended up a bad student. As it was I graduated high school and college with high honors. Good luck and let us know what you decide!

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone! I think I will talk with his teacher. I don't think it's a good idea to move him now, but I'll consider letting him go to third next year. I'd probably talk to the second grade teacher and see what would be covered that year and make sure he's up to speed on everything over the summer.

    Our cutoff is Sept. 1, so he's one of the oldest in his class now. So, he wouldn't be too much younger than the other kids. He's pretty tall, too, so he'd probably fit in fine.

  8. #8
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    Hi Joanne - I hope I'm not too late to respond to this. I can offer you some perspective as a parent (I never skipped anything!!).

    DD skipped first grade. It was offered to us by the school around this time of the year when she was in kindergarten. They had never done this before in our town, they said. We did not request it. We have been very happy with the way everything has turned out so far (she is 12 now).

    Our birthday cutoff is Sept 1. DD's birthday is Nov 6 so she was one of the oldest in her original class anyway. She was also one of the tallest in her class. The teachers thought that both of these were pluses for moving her up.

    Our town has an unusual arrangement in that kindergarten in our town is 2 full days and one half day (with 2 days that the kids don't go at all). We had 3 classes of first grade at the time. DH and I had a big meeting with the kindergarten teacher, the school social worker, and the principal where they laid out their idea for us. The teachers had DD attend each first grade class for a whole day on her "off" days from kindergarten. They told the first graders that she was "visiting" to help explain it to them without making a big deal out of it. Then they let DD pick which first grade class she liked best (teacher and kids) and she continued to attend that first grade class just as if she was one of them, going for the whole day on her "off" days from kindergarten, while continuing with kindergarten on her regular days. She did the homework, took the tests, was eligible for "student of the week" and went on the field trips.

    Academically, she was at the top of the first grade class even though she attended 2 days/week and started with them in February, getting 100's on everything. She is and was socially mature (she is an only child). She had a great time and made a lot of new friends.

    The teachers talked to us about everything and it was totally up to us if we wanted her to move up to 2nd grade at the end of the year and skip first or go on to first grade and have a customized, accelerated program. Close to the end of the school year, DH and I had a second big meeting with the kindergarten teacher, the school social worker, the principal and the first grade teacher that DD chose to determine whether we were going to move her up and which 2nd grade teacher they thought was best for her. We opted to have her skip and DD also wanted to do that when we asked her. The teachers had a conference with the 3 second grade teachers to determine the best fit teacher for her the following year.

    Her first few weeks in 2nd grade were tough socially but she continued to get 100s on everything. Everyone and their mother asked her "did you skip first grade??" She didn't like being asked about it, because it focused way more attention on her than she wanted, but everyone knew. Unbeknownst to me, the boys in her 2nd grade class kept calling her "kindergartner" and "baby". She'd come out of school hanging her head and wouldn't tell me but finally she did. I believe in letting kids fight their own battles, but I thought I should tell her teacher since DD wasn't going to. Her teacher said that being promoted was not something she brought upon herself, and thus not a battle that she should have to fight without intervention. Her teacher immediately sent the 3 boys to the principal, they got the riot act read to them, and she came out of school that day with the hugest smile!

    The biggest thing the teachers told us to consider back when we were deciding whether to move her up was to think ahead 10 years to when she'll be the youngest one in her crowd while everyone else is wearing makeup, starting to get interested in boys and dating and hanging out at the mall. It's been 6 years now and she is still right up there academically. Everyone has forgotten that she skipped. Because she was so close to the birthday cutoff, many of her friends who were on the younger side for their grade are only a couple of months older than she is. Her friends are still the girls she was close to in elementary school (we have 5 elem schools that merge into 1 middle school) and are all just like she is - not interested in boys, wear occasional makeup and are not allowed to hang out at the mall. Luckily, us mothers have the same outlook about that sort of thing and we've known each other and the girls for many years. I am confident that things will continue to go well as she heads into high school.

    Is it possible for your son to get acclimated/assimilated into 2nd grade now as he completes his 1st grade year? I agree I would not move him permanently in the middle of the year. Can you schedule a meeting between the principal, first and second grade teachers and then a meeting between the principal, second and third grade teachers?

    Good luck to your son! I learned it is much less common for boys to have the maturity and academic prowess to move up. I'm sorry this was such a long post but there was an awful lot of thought put into this on both our family's side and the school's side that I wanted to share.

    Loren
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  9. #9
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    If you're considering this, make sure your son is equally strong in all subjects.

    I started elementary school at an alternative, work-at-your-own pace school. Then we moved and I had to go to a traditional school. So although I was in third grade, I was reading at a 5th grade level but doing math at a first-grade level; I missed some key math concepts and really never caught up.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by ellamay
    Also, one of the problems I had, that your son may or may not have, is that I matured physically later in school than other girls and it caused me some embarrassment. It doesn't seem like a big deal now, but it was a big deal at the time.
    This is something I would really think long and hard about. Late maturation is much, much harder on boys than on girls. Wonder if there is a forum where you could ask this question of men who were double promoted.
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  11. #11
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    Originally posted by funnybone
    I would have no problems with him moving up if the teacher thinks he is ready. There is nothing worse than being bored in class and working at a level that is below your means. However, maybe instead of putting him in second now, the teacher could let him attend some 2nd grade classes (the ones he really excels at) and go back and forth for a bit to see how he does and fits in. That way, if he is hesitant about moving up now, he can easily go back to where he was.

    I think this is an excellent suggestion. You hate to move him so close to the end of the year---but moving right up to 3rd might be too much and then what do you do then? Try 2nd grade? I think this makes the most sense. I'm curious about different areas of the country----here in RI (until this year) if your 5th birthday was before December 31st, you started Kindergarten. In NH---it was more like the cutoff was October. We waited a year for my oldest so he just turned 8 a few weeks ago but every other kid in his 2nd grade class is 7. I'm curious if there are lots of other 7 year olds in your son's 1st grade class.

    Good luck!

    Kristi
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  12. #12
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    Loren, it sounds like your daughter had an ideal situation! What a good way to transition her. Sounds like she's doing great. Thanks for sharing her story.

    That's a good idea about letting him sit in on some second grade classes. I am going to set up a meeting with his teachers and talk about all this stuff and see what they think. If we did decide to move up to third in the fall, I would definitely talk with the second grade teachers to see what they cover and make sure he is ready for third.

    Stephania, I've thought about whether he's strong in all subjects. I know he definitely is in reading. His math is good, too, but that's probably what I'd worry about the most. If he misses some basic math building skills in second grade, will he get frustrated in third? But that's why I'd find out what they cover in second and work with him on it during the summer.

    I guess the maturity thing is the thing to really think about. There are alot of seven year olds in Jameson's class; the cut off is Sept. 1 and his birthday is the 27th. If he was born 4 weeks earlier, he'd be in second grade now. I wonder if it's less of a problem for boys than girls? I don't know. I wish I could ask some men!

    Thanks for everyone's thoughts and experiences!

  13. #13
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    JoanneOR -

    We moved my DS up last year, and I'd say it's the best decision we made for him.

    He started in kindergarten, but had already been reading and writing for over a year. We talked (briefly) to the principal about moving him up. Nothing happened for months, but we finally brought it up again, he was tested, and a week before Christmas break he was moved into 1st grade. This year he is in 2nd grade, takes 3rd grade math and is in TAG (Talented and Gifted program). He is also in his 2nd grade teacher's enrichment group. He will turn 7 the end of May.

    It was a tough decision to make. On the one hand, you definitely don't want your DS to be bored. My son after the first month of kindergarten started getting yellow marks instead of green (for behavior). It turns out he would finish his work, and then start talking to his neighbors. The problem was his neighbors hadn't finished their work.

    On the other hand, I was worried about the age difference between my DS and the other children. Some of these kids are 1-2 years older than my DS. We are very fortunate that my son got an excellent 1st grade teacher. She met him before he moved up, and felt he was ready socially, and she was very good about keeping us abreast of any problems (thankfully, we didn't have any problems).

    Sorry to be so long winded!

    I think the question to ask yourself is:

    Do I trust my son's teacher? Do you believe she is looking out for the best interest of your son?

    How does your son feel about moving up? He will have to make new friends in his class. Do you think he will be able to adapt to his new environment.

    Good luck! ()
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  14. #14
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    I have to agree with ellamay. I was in the same boat - skipped a grade and effectively started a year early - so I ended up graduating high school at 16.

    Although academically, this really wasn't an issue, as I was still in the "Advance Placement"/honors type classes, I found that the social issues were much harder to deal with.

    Example - my freshman year in high school, I was taking the same math class (Algebra 2, if I remember correctly) as alot of seniors. There was alot of peer pressure to deal with, in this situation. Basically I started the class at age 12, while there were 18-19 year olds in the class. VERY difficult to deal with, at least for me.

    And I am the only person that I know of that went thru freshman iniation twice - once when I was a freshman, again when I was old enough to be a freshman!

    I can laugh about these things now, but there are alot of peer pressure issues to deal with at that age. I would just make sure that your child is active in social events with his peers, to help give him a strong foundation with friends - both in school and out.

    Hope this helps! Good luck to you and your son, one way or another!

    Jamie

  15. #15
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    JoanneOR -

    My perspective is both as a teacher and as a student who skipped a grade and I say think good and hard about it. socially it's a tough situation. sure it'll probably be easy for your son to make new friends, but the old friends will keep asking him what happened to him. also, h e will continue to be the youngest in his class. which wasn't the issue for me -- it was more the responsibility my parents were willing to give me being a 16 year old senior in high school. it was tough and i became very rebelious, "if i'm old enough to do the work i'm old enough to have the same curfews, freedoms, etc. as my friends!" THIS became a very big issue.

    as a teacher i have taught many excellerated students. in all my years of teaching i have met only 1 i would have recommended to skip a grade academically. there is a lot of social development done in the school years, so this is something you should think twice about. also, although i hear you saying your son is excelling in grade level work and above, what i also hear you saying is that he is bored. forgive me for being brutally honest here, but a child worthy of skipping a grade should challenge himself and take his work to a higher level on his own motivation. therefore reducing his level of boredom completely.

    2nd grade is a very important grade for reading and writing. you say he's reading harry potter (i've had many 1st graders reading that) and i'm sure he's being checked for his level of understanding in the text. let me know if you'd like me to post some pages of higher level thinking questions you can use on his reading. that can be a telling sign. also writing and mechanics (quotation marks, punctuation, describing,) all very important 2nd grade work.

    being that i am not personally acquainted with your son and know his capabilities i can not give you advice about what to do. just think good and hard. i'm not sure todays benefits outweigh potential negatives ahead.

    good luck,
    debbie
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  16. #16
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    forgive me for being brutally honest here, but a child worthy of skipping a grade should challenge himself and take his work to a higher level on his own motivation. therefore reducing his level of boredom completely.
    Sorry, I completely disagree. To me, when there's a bright, talented child, the teacher and the school have a responsibility to help challenge and motivate that student. (Well, they have a responsibility to challenge and motivate ALL students, but that's another thread.) And it really goes beyond moral responsibility -- the school also has a LEGAL responsibility to provide each child with a learning environment appropriate to their abilities.

    I don't get this. It's up to the student to educate himself? How does a first-grader "take his work to a higher level on his own motivation"? Most lower-grade work, if I remember correctly, was pretty regimented and didn't lend itself to a lot of extrapolation. And no matter how much expansion of the assignment the child does (which, forgive me for saying, I don't think a lot of teachers would encourage because it would mess with their lesson plan), at a certain point, the type of assignments given would probably still not be enought to challenge that kid. When a kid can already read at a 4th-grade level, no matter what you do to an assignment, something like "let's read and write our letters" isn't going to challenge that kid.

    I am sorry, but this really makes me angry. Our schools have a lot of problems these days, but based on my own observations and those of my friends with children, staff laziness and unwillingness to deal with any child who is the least bit "different" and requires a bit more supervision than average seems to be a big problem.

    As far as the social issues, I think for me it would have been worse to be stuck in a classroom with people I couldn't relate to because I was farther ahead academically, than it was for me to have the opportunity to meet older kids who were more on my wavelength. Like Jem927, I also ended up as a 12- and 13-year-old in classes where there were 17- and 18-year-olds, and frankly I enjoyed interacting with the older kids because they were closer to my maturity level. In 8th grade I was bused to high school along with 4 other kids to take a 10th-grade level honors English class, where we talked about the fall of the Soviet Union and read Dostoyevsky, as I recall. Meanwhile, back at my middle school the 8th-grade class I would have been in was reading To Kill a Mockingbird, a book I had read at age 10. I wouldn't have gotten anything out of staying in the lower-level class, but I did get something out of the higher-level one, and also made friends I kept throughout high school, despite the fact they were older than me.

    To me, you cannot, CANNOT discount the importance of curriculum on a student's ability to stay engaged in their learning. And if you have an adaptable kid, they will learn to socialize with their peers, no matter what the age difference is. Having been accelerated myself, I would never hesitate to accelerate my kid if I thought that was what was best.

  17. #17
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    Our schools have a lot of problems these days, but based on my own observations and those of my friends with children, staff laziness and unwillingness to deal with any child who is the least bit "different" and requires a bit more supervision than average seems to be a big problem.
    Woa! Harsh and hurtful words! I'm a teacher and after being at school for (let me check my watch) 10 hours today, I'll just make a comment- first, I don't have an opinion either way on whether or not this little guy should move on. There are pros and cons either way, and it sounds like the school and parents are investigating in just the right way. What I would like to point out is that I am so unaware of any staff laziness within the hundreds of teachers I know that would interfere with the best interests of children. As we deal with 20-30 (more, in some cases) children each day, who are ALL DIFFERENT and ALL NEEDY in some way, some MORE than others, it only makes sense that we will encourage independence and inquisitiveness in those children who have that potential. Teachers make, on average, a critical decision every 20 seconds. It's absolutely reasonable to expect and encourage bright children to DEVELOP independence, the ability to occupy themselves, and the ability to develop questions that they can pursue- yes, even in primary grades. This MUST be supported at home- and in my experience, far too few bright children are challenged at home to be responsible for the direction their own learning.

    Anyway- most schools and parents work together to help the child the best way they both can. Staff laziness? Sorry, haven't noticed any in 24 years. Here is a link you might find informative:
    http://www.nea.org/neatoday/0402/lastbell.html

  18. #18
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    bluestocking, my parents were both teachers -- my mom for 20 years, my dad for 17. I know how little they got paid, how many hours they worked, and the thankless job that they did. My MIL is still teaching 4th grade in an very poor school, my uncle is a school superintendent, one of my aunts is an educational assistant, my DH's aunt and uncle are both teachers, still in the classroom...believe me, I know how much some teachers sacrifice to do a good job for their students.

    I am not trying to say all teachers are lazy -- there are many of them who are incredibly devoted. However, listening to the stories my mom and MIL have told over the years about their peers, and also listening to the stories my coworkers and friends have told about the teachers their kids have, it makes me wonder about some teachers.

    Here's one example: my mom became an educational diagnostician after leaving teaching. There's a huge demand for diagnosticians now, because so many kids are being tested for learning disabilities, particularly ADD. My mom was a diagnostician for 5 years and every year her caseload nearly doubled, because teachers kept referring kids for ADD testing in greater and greater numbers. In that 5 years, she had 4 kids who were diagnosed by my mom, their doctors and their psychologists as having ADD - 4 kids out of the hundreds that she tested. Often, the kids being referred for testing were either very bright kids who needed more stimulation or kids with emotional problems who needed extra help. When she would suggest different methods of helping those kids to their teachers (she did have 20 years of experience, after all) they would reject her suggestions. She even had one teacher tell her "I don't have time to deal with that crap, I just need someone to medicate this kid so he stops causing problems for me." This same teacher was giving a group of 6-year-olds worksheets and expecting them to work quietly without stopping for two hours at a time while she talked on the phone -- my mom discovered this doing a classroom eval of the 9th kid the teacher had referred for ADD testing that year.

    Here's another example: last year, my MIL was asked to take a kid into her class who had been removed from another class because the teacher couldn't deal with the kid. The kid had been referred for testing and they were evaluating a possible move to a behavior-disordered classroom, but in the meantime, the other teacher had insisted they take the kid out. The kid was being referred for testing with a suspicion of retardation and severe behavioral disorders. My MIL agreed, and the kid came in. The kid was disruptive for a few days, but as my MIL worked with him, she figured out the problem: the kid's parents were poor and couldn't feed him breakfast or send him to school with lunch money, and he was too embarrassed to ask for assistance in getting free meals. She got him hooked up with the nutrition program, he settled down. He went for testing. This supposedly mentally disabled kid had near genius-level IQ and no sign of behavioral disorders -- but the first teacher never bothered to figure any of this out.

    These are just two stories, but I've heard hundreds from my relatives over the years. Not to mention the trials and tribulations my friends with kids have gone through with their school-age children. One of my friends has a five-year-old who was having some separation anxiety at kindergarten -- the kid's teacher offered to refer the kid for counseling so the kid could be put on antidepressants! We're talking about a five-year-old! You hear a few anecdotes, it's one thing, but I keep hearing the same stories from different people in different cities all the time.

    I agree some kids are getting poor educational support at home, and teachers are not supposed to be substitute parents. I am sure you are a devoted professional who takes her job very seriously. However, it's dismaying for me to think that someday, if I have a gifted child, that child will be expected to expect less instruction and attention from his or her teacher because there are other children who "need more help." Just because a child is gifted and talented doesn't mean they deserve short shrift from their teachers - they deserve as much attention and help and opportunity as any other child. I understand this is difficult for teachers to provide in overcrowded schools, where some kids come in with no fundamentals. All the same, this is why my husband and I will only have kids if we can afford homeschooling or private school. We were both gifted kids who went through public school being told by teachers to sit still and read a book if we were finished with our assignments -- or worse, were asked to assistant-teach the class, something that was not our responsibility.

    Sorry if this has offended you, but coming from a long line of public educators -- and also as a future parent -- the state of the current educational system is a big issue for me. I can afford to send my kid to private school someday, but there are millions of kids getting substandard educations every day, sitting in classrooms learning nothing, and someday that's going to cause major problems for this country. Kids aren't being taught critical thinking skills or problem-solving, and that's bad. And thanks for the link to the NEA, but my mom and my MIL were both NEA reps for their schools and quit because they felt the NEA was doing too much blame-assignment and not taking enough responsibility for the problems in our schools, so I know where the NEA comes out on this type of thing. It's a union, and like any union it supports its members. That's fine, but that doesn't mean it's factual.

    And with that, I realize I'm too emotional about this issue to continue talking about it, so I am bowing out of this thread.

  19. #19
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    ellamay,
    "challenge/self-motivate" in 1st grade looks different then "challenge/self-motivate" at 4th grade and looks different then "challenge/self-motivate" in high school. my point was that this child in reference, being considered such an exceptional student by both his teachers and parents SHOULD be able to self-motivate/challenge himself more then the other students. such as the definition for a "gifted" child includes. however, as i said, i am NOT his teacher NOR do i have any idea what his school day/work habits/etc. look like, so i am unable to render an opinion as to whether skipping a grade is right for him or not. all i was doing was pointing out some characteristics to be looking for when considering such measures.

    should he have been a student in my class, there would be plenty of opportunities for him to challenge himself at a higher level. that is part of what being a teacher is all about. yes, there are bad ones and good ones (as in any profession). some should have retired, some are close to retiring (as in any profession). but, he should be (and MAYBE HE ALREADY IS??) doing his required school work at a higher level then most of the other students in his class. otherwise (in my humble opinion) he should not be considered to skip a grade.

    i had a student in 2nd grade that is probably a GATE (gifted) student, however his parents & I chose NOT to have him tested as he too hated homework and it was such a struggle to get him to do it every night (and had been a struggle for the 2 years i had him -- 1st & 2nd grade). that is NOT a characteristic of a gifted child. however academically he could do the work easily if he would have just applied himself. believe you me, he had opportunities everyday to prove himself above others in my class.
    It's easier to beg forgiveness then to ask permission!

  20. #20
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    Aug 2001
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    Hi, I just happened upon this thread & wanted to share my experience.
    When my daughters were born, I wanted to try to make sure they were offered the best educational experience. ( they are now 5 & 9)

    They are both very bright & the older one consistently scores "off" the charts in the standardized tests.

    What has worked for us is Montessori education.

    They didn't start p/s until 4 ( & both have March birthdays).. We have found that the Montessori enviroment solves many of the issues you have discussed. My younger daughter is in a classroom with 12 other children , aged anywhere from 3 to 6.. The children are led by the directress in lessons in all the "classical" subjects, geography, math, reading, etc..The older children help the younger & the children who need more help are not forced to move along until they fully understand the lesson. Likewise, the children who are ready to advance are allowed to do so.

    After my older daughter finished p-s & K @ Montessori, I made the horrible mistake of sending her to a parochial school for 1st grade. THe material they were covering was so substandard it was ridiculous! Unfortunately her 1st grade teacher was only able to "teach" the "textbook" 1st grader & was unable to help children who needed advanced material OR ones who wee struggling. DD was tested by the guidance counselor & scored to be in a gifted program thru our public district, & the counselor also offered my the opportunity to work w/her at home w/add'l materials, 2nd grade books, etc.. Well, excuse me, why I am paying all this tuition so I can teach her at home? & for a 6 yr old, I thought 6 hrs a day at school is enough.. allow her to be a kid!!!!!!!!

    So, we ultimately put her back in Montessori. SHe was working on 3rd grade spelling lists in 1st grade.. & was allowed to work as far ahead as she was capable.. Her classroom at that time consisted of 1st, 2nd & 3rd grade kids.. Now her classroom is 4th, 5th & 6th.. The older students work w/the younger on complicated math, oral reports , etc.

    There is no easy answer to your dilemma & switching schools is a whole other bag of worms.. I sympathize with you & with educators out there who have responded, too.

    I truly embrace the Montessori method of education. It may be worth looking into

  21. #21
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    I and my brother are both adopted. My brother had rheumatic fever before my parents became his foster parents, and he had learning disorders. We are the same age, so when it was time to go to school, my parents held us back a year so we'd be in the same grade. I was reading before kindergarten and always had my work done before everyone else. We were in private school, and the teachers were great in helping give me extra stuff to do. In second grade, my brother and I were put in separate classes---that helped a lot because we weren't compared to each other, and I didn't have to keep tabs on him. I think the biggest help was that my teacher would write the days assignments on the board--but she had extra assignments for those who did the regular assignments. I didn't feel bored. She also had a wall where you could get extra credit by doing book reports on animals and such. Then my mom homeschooled us and I could learn at an advanced rate. It helped keep me from getting bored. My attention span is about 1 minute. I didn't mind being held back because it helped my brother.

    When I was in college, I met a lot of kids that skipped lots of grades, etc. They were smart for sure, but a lot of them didn't get along with people. A lot of them didn't hang out with friends and didn't know socially acceptable behavior.
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

    Don't touch the hair!
    JB

  22. #22
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    Jonie brings up an interesting point regarding Montessori schools. I attended a Montessori school until 5th grade and consistently did work that was well ahead of my grade level. I absolutely loved that school! When I started 6th grade at a different (non-Montessori) school, I was completely bored with the material because it was way too easy. The teachers suggested moving me to 7th grade, which is what I ultimately did after 1 month in 6th grade. I was new at the school anyways, so I hadn't become to attached to my friends in 6th grade. The 7th graders were all very welcoming, and the transition was very easy. My parents allowed me to have a large part in the final decision - although in Joanne's son's case that might be harder since he is only 7.

    I have to admit that the only time I ever second guessed the move was when I was starting high school and had just turned 13. My elementary and middle schools were very small, and I was terrified of starting high school. I think I cried for 2 days straight before school started! But once I had been there for a week, everything was fine, and for a long time no one even knew that I was so young. People didn't start realizing it until my bday at the end of the school year, and of course I got my fair share of "Oh my gosh!! You are soooooo young!". But by then, I didn't mind and actually thought it was pretty cool! LOL I always pointed out that at our reunions, everyone would be jealous that I was younger than them!

    College was also somewhat "scary" at first (I'm a chronic worrier though - everything is scary at first! haha). At barely 17, I wasn't ready to move away from home - and although this is way down the road for you Joanne, it might be something else to consider. Fortunately we have a very good UC school close to my home, so that was where I was going to go no matter what (and from my GPA and SAT scores, I could have gone almost anywhere). I have never regretted my decision to live at home during college, and who knows, maybe your son won't have the same reservations about moving away as I did.

    Anyways, I know this isn't really helping much with your decision Joanne. But just know that no matter what you decide....everything will ultimately work out okay!

  23. #23
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    Well, this has been a very interesting discussion. I think I've learned a lot. What I kind of took away from it is that there are very different types of advanced students. I fooled around in elementary school and was bored sick by the work, and was reading all my mom's books and taking out exclusively adult books from the library by 4th grade. Math, I was average. Personally, I developed very poor study habits and no one ever talked to me about advanced classes until 8th grade. I did very poorly in the classes because I very, very rarely did my homework. I know that I'm very smart in certain areas, very average in others. I think that it is important to not just look at your son's abilities but to look at his weaknesses. After reading this whole thread, it made me realize that just because someone is bored with the work and capable of better doesn't AUTOMATICALLY mean that they should be moved up---even if you take the maturity level out of it. Whoever mentioned the fact that he should be self-directed, I think had a great point. In order to succeed in something that is more difficult, you have to have the DESIRE to do it. I think that is a trait that can be recognized pretty early in a child and should definitely be considered in a decision to move him up. There's a lot to consider and I think any way you look at it, your son's school should be able to accommodate him and his needs no matter what you decide.

    Good luck!

    Kristi
    co-founder
    Planet Marshmallow
    www.planetmarshmallow.com

  24. #24
    I "skipped" fourth grade in the middle of the academic year when I was a kid. In the end, I think it was a great thing because I got to be in classes that were not boring for me, but looking back I don't think it was the greatest idea for me to move mid-year. First of all, I missed the two big outings of both grades, because the fifth grade camp was over by the time I moved, and the fourth grade trip to the Spanish mission had not yet occured. So I felt like I missed out on a whole lot of fun and I always felt slightly wistful when my friends would later talk about their fun experiences.

    The bigger problem, however, was that in an apparent attempt to make me feel more welcomed and nurtured, my new teacher made it a point to announce my arrival and the reason for it, and to urge the other students to look to me as an example of excellent study skills (which I hasten to add that I did NOT have--I was a very lazy student). She would let me do little independent projects and go to the library on my own while other kids stayed in the classroom, and she would make people who were either misbehaving or having trouble in school sit next to me. Well, you can imagine what effect this had on my relationship with my fellow students! All I can say is that I was very glad to start sixth grade the next year at junior high school, with a fresh start. I was able then to make alot of new friends in my own grade, whereas I continued to play with my fourth grade friends when I was in fifth grade, because the atmosphere was a little bit hostile, as you might guess.

    The only thing that bothered me about being younger was that I couldn't get my driver's license until my senior year.

  25. #25
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    In order to succeed in something that is more difficult, you have to have the DESIRE to do it. I think that is a trait that can be recognized pretty early in a child and should definitely be considered in a decision to move him up.

    I taught gifted children in grades 1-6 for a number of years. There were many factors we used to invite a child to this program- about 5, if I remember, with academic skills being only 1 part. Recently I worked with a 2nd grade girl who could read and understand at the 6th grade level. Her mom initially wanted her moved up to a 3rd or 4th grade reading group, but the little girl adamantly refused. Her teacher had offered to allow her to read her own books in class, and have a special literature group for her. The girl still refused. She desperately wanted to read the 2nd grader readers that her friends were reading. She didn't want to be any different from them. Her mom decided that the extras she initially wanted the school to provide were actually already being provided at home- higher reading materials and discussions, travel, cultural events, etc. We all just decided- let her be a 2nd grader! This little girl is in 6th grade now and is a very bright, but most importantly well-adjusted, child.

  26. #26
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    Jan 2001
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    This thread has really been interesting! I understand that no one can give me advice on my specific situation, since you don't know my son. I just wanted to hear other's experiences and thoughts! Thanks for everyone's thoughtful replies.

    I'm kind of leaning towards having him go into second grade next year as normal. Report cards come home today and they schedule parent/teacher conferences shortly after that, so I'll talk to his teacher then. I think maybe it's too early to tell if skipping a grade is a good idea. He seems to be excelling, but what if he went to third and was struggling?

    I guess I'm a little concerned about having him be younger than the other kids. I think it would be OK in grade school, but to think of him going off to college at 16 is scary!

    So far, I love the school. The kindergarten teacher that Jameson had and Ian has now is absolutely amazing. I love the first grade teachers, too. So, I have no issues with that. They do break into different groups based on their reading levels, but they don't do that for math in his grade. Starting in third, they have an honors program.

    I know there is a Montessori school near us. It's something to look into. It would be a big decision, though. We have four kids and I want them all in the same school. Jameson is the oldest.

  27. #27
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    Mar 2002
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    Michigan
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    My parents almost had my sister and myself skip a grade. We were going into 5th and 6th and so would have just gone into 6th and 7th. We were attending a parachoial school and weren't being challenged. We were downright bored. They didn't end up doing it because (I think) we were shy and we not certain that we would do alright socially with kids a year older than us. I think that might have been the right decision. However, I think they should have transferred us to the public school, which had more options as far as elective classes (like foreign languages) that would have stimulated our learning and advanceded classes to challenge us.

  28. #28
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    Aug 2000
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    Houston, TX
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    I attended 1st grade for 7 days. They were reading Dick & Jane, and I was way beyond that. So, off to 2nd grade it was.

    Many good points have been raised and consideration needs to be given to the whole child -- her physical maturity, emotional maturity, socialization, etc.

    The thing I remember being happiest about when I was promoted, was that in 1st grade we were seated alphabetically, and moving to 2nd grade meant that I no longer had to sit, stand in line and follow the little girl ahead of me, cause she was mean. She was still mean many years later at the end of high school.

    I was one of the younger ones in my class, but since my birthday was in January, it wasn't too bad. I was bummed, though because I got my drivers license a year later than the rest of my class. Lastly, I wanted to graduate high school early, but my parents nixed the idea. In retrospect (20+ years) they were right, I wasn't ready for college at 16 -- mostly from a maturity standpoint, not academic.

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