Monday, October 06, 2008

Help, Oh, Help

bounce

As I'm sure most of you have gathered, there's lots of stuff going on around here right now. I'm behind on absolutely everything, and I apologize to everyone who's affected. I'll update on some of that later.

Right now, I'm wrestling with a dilemma that many of my friends and family have been telling me is coming, and of course, I'm bringing it to you, Internets, for your input, advice, opinions, and anything else you've got.

Bella will be six years old this month, and she's in kindergarten. She's also been reading for over a year, and has a couple other areas in which she demonstrates certain acedemic aptitude that is advanced beyond kindergarten level.

Today, when I picked her up from school, her teacher asked if I could come in for a moment and speak to her about Bella. The teacher and I were joined by the school's principal, the Gifted and Talented coordinator, and someone called curriculum specialist or academic coach or something like that. Long story short, they've ascertained that the kid is bright. Quelle surprise.

Now, the question being put to her father and I is, "What do you want to do about it?" And frankly, we don't know. The option of skipping her on up into first grade was offered right off the bat, and to be honest, the notion is a little jolting to me. The other option was keeping her where she is, and providing some special attention three times a week (provided that she "officially" tests into the G&T program) or so.

I have been hearing complaints from my daughter about school being "boring," and that she's "not learning anything." I've been telling her to be patient, and we'd see if we could do something about that. But what? Her teacher says that she does not complain at school, and has an attitude of polite patience in the classroom. Yeah. "Polite patience" pretty much sums up her attitude at home, too. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

So, here I am, in full information-gathering mode. If you have a story or some experience relating to this issue, AND I KNOW YOU DO, I'd like to hear it. In favor of grade-skipping, or against grade-skipping, or any experience with any solutions in between.

My sister and I were both October babies, and both fairly bright, and early readers. I started school early, while my sister started at the same age Bella did. I feel like my sister did better than I did at school, both academically and socially, and that she was better prepared for college at 18 than I was at 17. But how much of that is simply because our personalities were different? I just don't know.

Personally, I'm leaning toward keeping her where she is and trying to work hard to keep her engaged and interested. But how to do that? Is it even possible? By not letting her "skip ahead," am I actually holding her back? And how much of that feeling in me is powered by the overwhelming thought that, if she skips kindergarten, then that's ONE LESS YEAR I have with MY BABY?

Alex and I are already fighting about it, and I definitely don't want THAT. He wants to make a decision RIGHT NOW, and I know that he'd rather go ahead and advance her. I just want more information.

Anyone wanna give me some?

74 comments:

  1. It's a tough situation... but what's important is that YOU know your daughter best. Do YOU think she's mature enough to handle the social development side of first grade? I mean there's no doubt she's definitely bright enough to tackle it! On the other hand, if she's bored with classes and doesn't feel she's learning anything, she may start acting out or actin' up in class simply to entertain herself.

    Crap. I'm absolutely NO help whatsoever.
    Sorry. :)

    I think if you are confident enough in her social maturity, then go for the skip and let her brain commence a-fillin'.

    And *HUGHUG* for you.

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  2. I'm not sure why, but my mom opted against the TAG program for me. We just made sure that I had lots of stuff to keep me occupied - I was ALWAYS reading and dancing and hot gluing and knitting and, oh probably running my mouth ;)

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  3. Yeef! This is a really tough one. Only you and Bella know if she's socially ready for first grade. My suspicion is yes. As for the academics? I'm betting if she's not challenged enough in the classroom, she'll challenge herself at home.
    Best advice from a seasoned mom?
    In the end, remember no placement is permanent, no academic result will remain unchanged over the next several years. Try thinking in the present only and I your answer will become clear.

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  4. Ah we dealt with this.

    Here's my two cents based on learning from my own mistakes and also from decisions I am so glad we made:

    1. Wait to G&T test until 2nd grade.

    2. Keep her at her age group.

    You can challenge her academically in other ways.

    But emotional Q is the most important bit and K to 1st is a pretty big change.

    My daughter's K teacher quickly ascertained that my daughter LOVED to do art and write stories, so she set her up to be able to do that when she had time.

    We had several meetings in which we discussed how to set up activities for my D and how to teach her to challenge and occupy herself.

    Worked great!

    Good luck and feel free to email if you want to chat more. I SO remember how you feel right now.

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  5. I had the offer to skip to second grade, but I started kindergarten at 4 years old, and my mom said hell no. However, she did agree to had me up in first grade, which I tried on a two-week period, and then she let me help decide.

    I was pretty mature socially in that I could talk to adults, but socializing with kids was always hard and I was always shyer with them. That plus the fact that my mom was afraid that I'd look like the "little kid" or the "young one" helped her made the decision to keep me in kindergarten.

    Of course, by the time I was in third grade, I needed to wear a bra and I got my period the year after that, so her worrying was for naught. ;)

    I'd say see if you can "try out" first grade. She may love it, she may hate it but it's not like she'll be missing that much schoolwork back in kindergarten.

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  6. I think the crux of the matter is the social/emotional aspect. Obviously Bella is ready for 1st grade academically, (I heard her read the AK tax code). Bella is gregarious, and knows her mind, and IMO those are two qualities a younger child needs among older peers.

    There's no way to see into the future and know which decision is the right one, there are just too many variables.

    I would probably have the first grade teachers talk to Bella, and see what they think.

    And, yes, I know parenting isn't a democracy, and Bella's only six, but I would talk to Bella, and see what she thinks.

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  7. My brother's birthday is mid-December, and he started kindergarten when he was four and a half. In first grade, he was skipped into second grade. He then got sick, and stayed sick for most of that year (at one point having a tutor come to the house), thereby missing most of second grade. While he was never in the gifted & talented program at school, he was on honor roll all through middle and high school, took AP classes, and went to the top state college (out of 64 schools) before becoming a CPA. Five years after that, he went to law school and is now also a lawyer. He always had friends and was well-liked, and got along with everyone.

    My birthday is at the end of October. I started kindergarten two months before turning five. My mother taught me to read the summer before first grade. I have severe learning disabilities which were not diagnosed until after graduation from high school, and I did terribly throughout school. I was either bored because I already knew what was being taught, or bored because I couldn't understand what was being taught. Neither holding me back a year nor skipping me ahead a year would have solved the problem.

    How is she socially? Does she have an easy time getting along with everyone? Is she short for her age?

    I grew up in NY, where kids routinely skipped grades and it was no big deal. In my grade alone I can think of three kids who were skipped into it, and two who were skipped to the next grade, and that's just off the top of my head. In NY (and the NE in general), skipping is common. In CA, where my brother and I both live now, almost nobody skips and holding kids back is very common.

    It seems very trendy to hold kids back, so I say if even the school is offering to move her ahead, then I vote for doing it. The only thing is K is more about learning HOW to be in school, and the focus on academics is secondary to that, while in 1st, everything is more academically focused, so she may struggle skipping in those grades, simply because running and playing is more fun than sitting quietly at a desk.

    Expect though that with eye-hand coordination she may be a little behind the kids in her new grade (handwriting, throwing/catching, etc.). If you're going to do it, do it soon, so she can get the bulk of the year in her new grade.

    Oh, and for the record, my dad's birthday is also mid-December, and he skipped a grade too - he did a program where 7th, 8th & 9th grades were all done in two years instead of three. He also had no problems socially or academically doing that. (My mother also did the same thing, but her birthday is mid-February.)

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  8. Oh goodness, you could have been my mother, writing this about me.

    In the end, my parents opted for supplemental enrichment (not moving up a grade) and I am SO glad that they did. I had friends who were moved up, and they were all socially awkward. The gifted and talented program was the highlight of my elementary school years, but I wouldn't trade being with kids my own age.

    I'd keep her in kindergarten. You can always supplement her education. My first grade teacher let me bring novels and read in the corner while the other kids sounded out sight-reader books phoenetically. There are ways to work around low-level curriculum, if you have a motivated educator on your side. So yeah, there's my two cents.

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  9. I never liked being bored at school, but I always liked being the oldest. My parents went with the gifted program route (eventually moving me to challenging private school that allowed me to skip a few grades in math), but I was always allowed to stay with my grade level. I don't have any parenting experience or statistics or anything logical whatsoever to back me up on that choice, just the knowledge that I'm happy with what my parents decided.

    I'm sure you and Alex and Bella will make the best of either situation, of course, but my vote is for staying put. :)

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  10. I have to agree with a few other posters in regards to the social/emotional aspect being a bit of a worry. Even if a child is ready for the next level from an educational standpoint, it can be difficult from an emotional standpoint.

    My advice? Let her try it out. But do so under strict observation. If she isn't handling the pressure, bring her back. You can always keep her in the same grade, but push her in extracurricular ways.

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  11. I get the impression that she would cope socially with being moved up (I think that only children often have a bit of an advantage with slightly older children because they can be used to getting along with adults a lot of the time).

    However, coping is not necessarily enough. Do you think that she would thrive?

    My sister moved up a year at secondary level - she's an October baby. She has coped fine with university (she actually took a course with an extra year - she will leave university at the appropriate time) - secondary school was fine, too. I think that she thrived well enough.

    No help with the primary stuff (sorry) - it is all to do with whether or not you think that she will thrive socially, I reckon.

    Good luck! She will be fine whatever, but I hope that you make a decision with which you are comfortable.

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  12. My parents decided that I was too small (physically) to skip a grade and because I was young (September baby) I was also still 4 when I started school. Kindergarten was in a private school, but when I got to public elementary school, they wanted to jump me from 1st to 2nd because I tested high. What ended up happening is that I was put in the Gifted & Talented supplemental classes a few days a week and my 'regular' class was a 1st/2nd grade combo class. When the 1st grade work was too easy, the teacher would give me 2nd grade stuff to do. But that way, I was still socialized with the group that was "my age" and still called a "1st grader." We moved when I went in to 2nd grade, and the new school didn't have combo classes so I stayed in 2nd and went to Gifted (GATE) classes 2 days a week at another school (there were a few of us that they would send there by bus) and then onsite at school, I switched classrooms for certain subjects, like math and english, where I was stronger. I think they don't care if you "excel" at social studies. ;-)

    That worked well for me, because it met all of my needs and because there were kids in my class doing the GATE program too, I wasn't stigmatized for being brainy.

    In my experience, where it caught up to me was in jr. high. The classes were too easy and so I taught myself to be lazy and procrastinate everything. My school only offered 'honors' classes in certain subjects, and I did ok there, but for the 'regular' ones I just zoned out and still did well. All my report cards are "talks too much during class, doesn't pay attention" A-. :)

    We moved again when I started 9th grade and I went to a really advanced high school and was unprepared because I had basically slept through the last 2 years of academics, so 9th was a slap in the face. But it also had to do with the affluent neighborhood (where I did not live) and the type of people who grew up there. I made friends with people who had been studying to be doctors since they were 8, so by 9th grade they already knew exactly what to do to get into Harvard (and they did). Whereas I was like "work? huh?" because I'd been asleep at the wheel for too long.

    So, um, yeah. Long story short: extra smartiness is good, but it has to be consistent or else you'll get a smartypants lazy girl like me. :)

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  13. When I was in first grade, I tested into the "gifted" category and the school suggested having me move up a grade. My mom chose not to. The school had a great gifted ed program that I attended all day one day a week. I also had advanced reading skills, so I went to the next grade up for reading only.

    Was I bored? Yes, I was. Those days in the gifted program kept me sane. I often wished that I had been skipped ahead, simply because I already knew much of the material being taught and thought my classmates were socially behind.

    I don't know if it would have been better to skip me ahead or not. But by middle school when the gifted ed program was phased out, I was still smart but lazy. I did the minimum needed to get A's in my classes only because I didn't see any point in trying harder. At times I specifically sabotaged myself so that I didn't always get the best grades - it was bad enough that I was teased mercilessly for being "the brain".

    Sadly, that trait still sticks with me, and I battle it all the time. I want to do great things, but hold myself to just the minimum needed to get by. It's a tough habit to break.

    No matter which option you choose, I can say that you will likely need to do a lot of supplemental education outside of school to keep her interested in learning. With the right support from you, I think Bella will thrive in either situation.

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  14. "And how much of that feeling in me is powered by the overwhelming thought that, if she skips kindergarten, then that's ONE LESS YEAR I have with MY BABY?"

    The other side of that picture? When we were offered the chance, we didn't skip a grade with my daughter (who is now 28 & turned out to be brilliant, if I do say so) & then when she was an obnoxious high school senior, we said "Hey--she'd be off to college now if we'd been smart enough to skip her from kindergarten to first grade. What were we thinking?" I know it's hard to believe that the time will ever come when you'll wish your child no longer lived at home, but it just might.

    But, more seriously, my daughter went to a Montessori school where students were encouraged to work at whatever rate was right for them. Her teachers still had to scurry to find work to challenge her. But socially I don't think she would have been comfortable being the youngest--but it looks to me as if Bella is much more advanced socially than Caitlin was, so she might welcome being with the older kids. Can she visit the first grade class to see what it feels like to her & to you?

    There's no "right" answer, as far as I'm concerned. & whatever you choose, you'll wonder throughout her education whether you made the right choice. Be kind to yourselves when that happens.

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  15. Ohhh, opinions on this topic, I has them.
    But I will, for the sake of time, try and make them brief. First, back in the 70's, my parents were approached within the first 2 weeks of the school year with the same idea, this girl is very smart, she would be fine in 1st grade, blah blah. SO they went for it, and moved me, and then lo and behold, I was not Socially ready to make the transition basically from preschool into 1st grade. It was a miserably failed experiment to the point that they moved me back to kindergarten and spent the rest of my elementary life telling my parents I was borderline LD. (Really, I was just ADD.) Nice, huh?
    Okay, story # 2 - I have a good friend who skipped first grade and did fine, until she got into sr high school, and all the other girls in gym class were wearing bras and she was still wearing an undershirt, and well, you can see where this is going. So the physical maturity factor may become an issue at some point, which surpasses any academic maturity, especially in teenage girls. So those are some things to think about. Like you needed more to worry on.

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  16. Well, I'm an August baby, but I skipped kindergarten and went into first grade. They didn't even try to put me in kindergarten. My parents really were torn. My mother (and my sister) thought that I should stay where I was. My father thought I should go up to first grade. So I went to first grade, where I was exceedingly bored. And this is one of the top school districts in the country. I did well and didn't have social problems-- I don't know if my classmates knew that I was five, but it didn't seem to matter. After that, my parents decided to put me in private school. Then the question was go up to second grade or go do first grade again and stay with my peers. My mother and sister said "first grade" and my father said "second." I said "second" because I was so bored. Then, in fourth grade, my private school wanted to skip me to fifth. My father said yes, my sister and mother said no..... I ended up staying in fourth grade. I was still bored. In fact, I remained bored right up until I started my MA. The unfortunate manifestation of my boredom was my turning into a complete and utter slacker. I didn't do any work, didn't turn in assignments, etc. Obviously, I needed an attitude adjustment. I did fine in college because I knew how to pick classes.. but it wasn't until I started my MA that I was actually doing something I wanted to do that interested and challenged me that I got over all of this. Not that I'm saying they should have skipped me from fourth to fifth grade--I think two years age difference was too much. But I shudder to think of what would have happened if they hadn't skipped me in the first place!

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  17. I'm a mom of an 11 year old and a 13 year old, both September babies born on the edge of the cut off date.

    My advice: keep her where she is for now and supplement at school or with challenging extra curriculars.

    You're wise to be thinking about the middle school and teen years and yes even college--this is the age when being dramatically older or younger makes a BIG DIFFERENCE in physical and emotional development. It's also the age when kids are most likely to have their confidence rocked by being different.

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  18. Well, don't have kids so I can't help you there. And while I am/was a December baby, I had the opposite problem - teachers always wanted to hold me back and my mother wouldn't let them. Luckily she didn't, since I was bright (if I do say so myself), but I was incredibly shy and had a learning disability.

    That battle between my mother saying "but she's smart!" and the teachers saying "she needs to stay back!" went on until I was in junior high when they FINALLY let me test for gifted class placement again and, lo and behold, I was put into gifted classes. And suddenly everything got a little easier.

    I guess my point is, my elementary schooling was a struggle: I was never challenged in the things I was good at and never received any help for the things I need help with. Yet I turned out okay (Graduate degree! Take THAT you elementary school Haters and Doubters!), so all's well that ends well.

    Which leads me to think that she'll be fine, Belinda - whatever choice you make. You will not be scarring her for life either way. Go with your gut - and if that turns out not to work I suspect you'll know it fairly quickly. She's a smart, tough kid and she's got parents who love her and believe in her. She'll be fine, trust me.

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  19. My mother, bless her heart, was faced with the same dilemma when I was Bella's age. Not only that I was tall and appeared totally at ease in a school setting. But my mother knew that I was extremely shy and that putting me ahead might 'damage' me socially. As it turned out I was very late to mature, both physically and emotionally, so it was absolutely the right thing to do. Bella, however, appears to be the sort of kid who has so much self confidence that she'd thrive in either situation. If I were you I'd fast forward a few years and imagine how puberty might be for her and decide using that as a measurung stick. No matter which grade she's in she's always going to be one of the bright ones, so academics are probably the weakest measuring stick you have. My older son was also a really early reader, but because of the cut-off date here of December 31st, he was in first grade when he turned 6 (also in October). And he was like me: tall, self-possessed but lacking in self confidence. I wouldn't have skipped him (it's almost never done here any more) even though he *did* end up maturing early physically and emotionally just because of the shyness thing. IMO self confidence is THE most important factor.

    I done said enuff.

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  20. I started school a year early, and was always a year younger and smaller than my classmates. I got picked on a lot. I hated it, and it came close to making me hate school altogether. Please consider that aspect of skipping, as well.

    On the other hand, a bored student is never a happy student.

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  21. My school was adamantly against skipping grades. I only remember one kid who skipped and she was so far advanced they really didn't have a choice.

    My birthday was late in the school year, so starting at four wasn't an option, though I could already read and write a little at that age. Needless to say, I had all sorts of problems at school from being bored to feeling completely misunderstood. I always wonder if my mom should have pressed the issue more and had them place me in kindergarten at four. In fourth third grade I was moved into a fourth/fifth grade math class (which I think is ludicrous, as I never considered math my best subject), and I got along fine.

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  22. My nephew tested at high school and college level for most academics by the time he was in third grade. (Yeah. Made my kids look mentally challenged even though they were average to above average. Real fun at family reunions. "Hey Jonathan.. count backwards in Greek by threes!" and then mine... "Hey Josh.. can you hop on one foot and rub your head simultaneously?? Uh, 'Simultaneously' means AT THE SAME TIME.")

    They opted to bump him up two grades, and the social mess that ensued still haunts the poor little guy.

    Then they put him in the Gifted program ~ which meant he would get twice the homework. MAKE SURE your Gifted program isn't just more busy work or you will kill her love of learning and all things could backfire.

    HOWEVER... with Bella being a girl, and girls mature faster anyway it probably wouldn't affect her very much if she popped up one grade. Although she would be older than the guys her grade when she is of dating age. That could be good and bad~!

    What about extra curricular activities ~ piano, art, chess club, 4H, etc..?

    There's always home schooling ~ but she would be ready for college by 12 years old at the rate she learns. Doogie Howser for sure. How exciting!

    KH

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  23. I'm going to come at this from a VERY different angle than any of your other commenters. As you know, I have gifted kids. I'm gifted, everyone in my birth family is gifted, we've all experienced all that is GATE and GT supplemental stuff.

    You are not going to know what you're dealing with until you get Bella tested. Giftedness ranges from IQs of 130 (moderate) to over 180 (profoundly). You have to think about the bell curve and see that a kid with an IQ of 180+ is about 5 standard deviations above the norm, and pretty much no matter WHAT you do, school isn't going to work. Not even gifted schools, because they don't really cater to PG kids.

    Now, testing. It's tricky. You can request that your school system test Bella, but they're going to use standard tests that DO NOT WORK for giftedness. Tests like the WISC are only designed to test to around 130 IQ, and Weschler himself (the guy that invented the test) says that. So... you're going to have to use a specialist to do the testing. I do know that there is one at Vanderbuilt in Nashville, but there are so few that she might just be the closest one. If so, I can put you in touch with a friend of mine who has used her. You can find testers on www.hoagiesgifted.org. In fact, that's the site you need to explore because anecdotal evidence is really just that. It isn't about BELLA, it's about other people that could or could not be similar.

    What I can tell you as the mother of one MG and one PG kid is that nothing, but nothing works all the way through school. You are going to have to be very flexible because one year public school might totally suck (it's often 3rd or 4th grade) and homeschooling might work, and the next year private school might work. As you know, my kids have done it all, private, public and homeschooling.

    You should also consider going onto listservs for parents of GT kids, where you'll get much more practical information than you will from your blog. Most of the parents have been through the trenches for years and know what works and what doesn't.

    About skipping. My kids both started school at 5 years 7 days old, so they were 6 in first grade. Around these parts, that's par for the course. So Bella is already behind her age peers in some parts of the country.

    The girl didn't start to read for a LONG time due to her LDs, but the boy was reading fluently like Bella at 3.5. I put him in K at 5, he was bored out of his skull. In first grade he had the teacher from hell who thought she knew everything about GT kids, and refused to acknowledge that her methods didn't work for him. Changed schools. Second grade was OK... for about 4 months. And then he had his first bout of suicidal ideation. At 7. He couldn't relate to the other kids who never got his jokes or his references. The work was a joke for him, and the teacher didn't get that a spiral curriculum was death for him.

    3rd grade he had a WONDERFUL teachers aid that took him out of class and worked with him exclusively. It was great... until the school had financial problems and let her go. Then he homeschooled for the rest of that year. He did a full year's math curriculum in 6 weeks. He was working on middle school grammar and language arts. History was also middle school.

    Homeschooled until almost the end of 3rd grade, when he went to public school and was skipped into a 4/5 classroom. He was challanged, in GATE, but the GATE program was a pullout a couple of hours a week and it wasn't for him. WAY too easy and mostly science. He's more a language geek.

    We moved at the end of 5th grade, he went into public school in May, graduated in June and headed into Middle School the next year. 7th grade was a disaster and he ended at a boarding school for the year of 8th. Finally, in high school, he was put into a 'small learning community' with a few other kids similar to him, and he's thrived. But... he's the laziest student ever and this is the first year he's ever done any homework.

    Socially, the skip was absolutely necessary. He was not only bored to death, but he was so different than the other kids that they thought he was really weird. OK, he started memorizing Monty Python movies in 2nd grade. It IS a bit weird. But that's just who he is.

    Now, he's about to graduate from high school at 16. He's young. All of his friends are 2-3 years older than he is. But he has TONS of friends, and they forget how young he is.

    Next year he's going to do a gap year to catch up with his age peers. I'm fine with that. I did the same thing, only I had to take 2 years to catch up.

    I'm a huge proponent, as are most parents of HG and PG kids, of skipping. If your school wants to do it (which is VERY unusual), I'd take it and run.

    Go to hoagies and read. Read and read and read. That's where you're going to find the best information on the topic.

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  24. I don't have any advice other than what I've heard from people...

    my older brother was September 2, started Kindy at 4 going on 5. He felt that caught up with him socially...he was a small kid to begin with, my parents weren't exactly the ideal engaging types though.

    our admin tried to start her September kid in first grade, skipping Kindy alltogether. She was not, however, advised to do so. She had it in her brain he was so advanced, due to his Montessori school (i know). She was basically discouraged to do so because and this is what I thought was important (and what the administrators told her):
    "Kindergarten is a special time."
    so there's that.

    I heard it does catch up with kids who are not ready and whose parents are similarly minded as our admin scenerio above BUT not until later in school. But, Bella is different because she clearly possesses ability that has been assessed in the classroom to be at a first grade level.

    Natalie's friend Natalia started Kindergarten last year. I think they are all happy with it & how she's doing (she's one day younger that Natalie). They both hang out at school but yet, she's clearly a first grader.

    I know that's all a bunch of random mumbo jumbo but I hope it helps a little. You will know in your heart and soul what to do. And, I concur that Bella seems mature enough to offer insightful input on the matter, even if it's not a democracy as someone wisely posted above. The social thing, they say, is the HUGE part, I agree. And, she's got that down, obviously. Good luck!

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  25. hi, i followed betheboy's link on twitter over here.

    this has come up for both of my kids, daughter is 14 and boy is 6 (1st grade) our son was just tested and he will be in gt classes too.

    our school is set up so that the advanced students go to "gt" classes, but otherwise are in a mixed classroom. i liked that idea a little better compared to when i was in school.

    when our daughter was tested in, i felt similar to you in not wanting to make a big deal out of it.

    i have wondered if our kids our a smarter generation and schools cannot keep up.

    unfortunately, it seems that a certain type of kids are getting left behind. oddly, in our times of "no child left behind".

    my husband's brother was held back based on his birthday, and i think i've heard it mentioned that it didn't work so well on the social level for that brother.

    that's the key i think, to find a balance between not having your kid bored and to have an equal playing field socially. my daughter, even with the gt classes was often bored and it got her into trouble on occasion.

    not sure if i helped, ultimately i think between you and your husband you'll make the best decision for your daughter. it couldn't hurt to speak to the school's guidance counselor for additional input.

    it's not an easy one so i wish you luck.

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  26. A lot of thought has been put into the previous well-written comments.

    My take is somewhat different. If you advance Bella now and she stays a grade (or two) ahead of her counterparts, think about junior high and high school. She will be quite a bit younger than her classmates. I think as parents the teen years are full of enough angst without asking for more in the way of "Well, Jane is going to the dance with Ryan (who is a year older than Jane and two years or more older than Bella), why can't I go with Ryan's friend, Zach?" (who is Ryan's age) Get my drift? Just something else to consider.

    We had the opposite issue when Katie was held back a grade in elementary school due to the abysmal curriculum in Denver (where we moved from) and the advanced curriculum in Omaha. She was okay with that and her classmates quickly figured out she would be able to drive before they could. LOL

    You and Alex will make the right decision for Bella. And just think you've got at least a dozen more years of this!

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  27. I suggest keeping her in kindergarten for social/emotional reasons (especially when she hits puberty, you want her the same age as her classmates) and enroll her in the gifted program. Another thing we've done with my son is work with his teachers on doing optional challenge work. This year, he is doing accelerated spelling lists and multiplication tables ahead of most of his class. At home, we also mandate lots of reading and get him books above his grade level. These things seem to work with us and keep boredom at bay. Also, I agree with the earlier commenter that some of this may be unnecessary projection until you get her tested for the gifted program. My son more than qualified based on every standard except he scored two points under the required IQ testing score (which I still debate because it is an oral test and he has hearing issues). Some very bright, gifted students don't score extremely well on standardized IQ tests which is one of the requirements for the gifted programs.

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  28. Have had a version of this with my girls. They were both late summer babies, physically very small, and though they were very bright and well-socialized and teacher were suggesting they enter kindergarten early, at the advice of my brother the child psychologist and my sister the pre-K teacher (siblings come in so very handy), we opted not to. My oldest was tested into the gifted program in second grade, and enjoyed it, but can't say that it was a life-changing experience for her. They are now 12 and 16, both honor roll students at academically rigorous private schools. For them, not pushing them ahead turned out to be the exact right call. I have a friend with a son the same age to the day as my youngest daughter who opted to go ahead and enroll him early-- it worked until 2nd grade, then his social immaturity caught up with him and they held him back. He is now happy and doing well.
    It is such a completely individualistic call. For every success story there's a story of a child who has difficulties. You seem to be so attuned to Bella, I feel certain you and your husband will make the right call for her. And like my husband tells every time I sweat bullets over a decision, scared to death that I have only one chance and if I blow it the world will explode: "You can always change your mind."
    And you can!

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  29. Stigmatized for being brainy was my situation in school. School was such a non-challenge for me that my mother sent my younger sister a year early and she did fine and had more friends than I did (and later dated and married someone in the same class who was among the older AND SMARTER ones in the class). [we were both always attracted to "smarts"] I was bored in class, but always loved learning for its own sake so would "study ahead", etc. [no such thing as 'gifted program' then -- we didn't even have kindergarden]

    Being a small school I knew the one-year-older girls fairly well and I know had I gotten to be with them more I would have been better friends with them in that grade than I was with the friends I had in my own grade (and I was never shy, so that wasn't it, just a difference in interests). So I think having friends and how good of friends they become has more to do with intelligence level and coincidental personality and interest than age.

    For my children elementary classes were too easy and they became lazy and procrastinated everything, then were satisfied with 'OK' in high school and had a hard time in college when they actually had to pay attention and STUDY.

    Remember she hasn't been in that class or even that school long enough to have "real friends" yet, just "acquaintance friends" -- now is a much better time to move up than at any later time, so I say "try it, no big deal if it doesn't work out and she goes back".

    Besides what another person said about extra "gifted classes" and "enrichment" being good in some schools and not in others -- it could change over time (year to year), too, with economic pressures and emphasis on No Child Left Behind, regardless if there are also Children Dragged Down.

    I don't think I would worry about her physical maturity in high school. Bella sounds like me -- a well developed sense of self that didn't care "what everybody else is doing" if it was not what I was interested in or thought was 'right'.

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  30. (WIthout reading the other answers)

    My impression is that teachers are generally fairly reluctant to grade-skip these days, and do so only when it's quite obvious that the child is waaaay ahead of the game. The fact that she's complaining about being bored is a bit of a flag, I think.

    Does she tend to gravitate to older kids in mixed-age environments? She is so confident and comfortable and outgoing that I'm guessing she would adjust fine to whatever life throws at her.

    For a personal experience, I was grade-skipped early when we went to the USA (technically 2 years ahead, but sort of just one and a half years ahead because of the season-offset), and did just fine. I was put back with my age-grade when we returned to Australia (fourth grade by then), and did ok too, though only with teachers who got personally involved in extension all the time, and I was always top of my year (right through to the end of high school). Socially I never fit in with any regular group, though I had my small, tight group of friends. The first time I ever really felt comfortable and at home in a school-based group was at the National Science Prize finals trip. Such is life; there's nothing you can do to "fix" that if it's the case. Kids find ways to cope.

    The best friend I made in first year uni was only 16 when he started med school (it's straight from high school here), and he did just fine too.

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  31. I think the bottom line for bright people is that life isn't as easy as others would think, no matter what choices we make.

    Is there anything, really, on the kindergarten curriculum that Bella doesn't already know? I rather doubt there is, in which case, it will be a lot like repeating kindergarten for her.

    That happened to me, and the first lesson I learned in school was to zone out and do my own thing. I was able to make decent grades with a minimum of effort, because I was never really challenged. Although I love to read and learn, early reading only meant that the teachers didn't have to spend much time with me, and I don't think that was a good thing.

    My vote? Move her on up, and teach her how to stretch herself. I think she'll do fine.

    Sue

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  32. I have two cousins that faced this challenge.. my aunt kept them where they were, wanting them to be "normal".. they hated it, but never told her and put up with it.. when faced with that choice for his own child, one leapt full swing for the moving ahead and gifted programs from the new level.. he gives his child every opportunity, and they are both very happy with the choices. I remember being sooooo bored in school.. which just makes you want to talk or do something to make time go faster.. not the best choice..
    I usually just lurk, but had to chime in!
    Jean

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  33. I was bored in school. Very, very, very bored. Around 3rd grade I decided I'd just had enough, it was all so stupid. So while I remained eager to learn and bright, I quit doing the "dumb stuff" and "fell behind" on paper.

    I know that every kid is different, but for me, if I'd been able to participate in either a G&T program or skip ahead a grade or even skip ahead in text books, it would have helped immensely.

    By the time I got to HS, I'd sorted myself out and was in the honors programs and was able to find ways to challenge myself, but there always remained this sort of disdain for school in general that I couldn't ever quite kick. I just couldn't take it seriously when I felt that the system was so flawed.

    In HS, a family of kids that had previously been in a very good private school nearby, joined the mainstream for the social experience. They placed all of the kids a grade ahead. But then they stayed behind one year to graduate with their class. They were such nice, bright kids, and I thought the way they handled things was really kind of awesome. They were a bit bored during their double senior year, but our school had a lot of early college opportunities where you left campus and really only had one or two classes at the HS.

    Anyway... don't know if any of that is helpful or not!

    Good luck!

    xx

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  34. Just my personal experience, and agreeing with some of the other posts here - being a year younger than your classmates is a significant difference when you hit middle/high school and college. It's tough when everyone else in your group is old enough to date/drive/drink/fill in the blank and you are not. I know there are lots of success stories of kids who were a year or more younger than their classmates and were very successful emotionally as well as academically, but that wasn't the case for me or for my youngest daughter. Another thought is that skipping during the school year seems disruptive for all involved - maybe the change could happen between academic years. It will be interesting to read about your decision and how it all plays out.

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  35. This was EXACTLY my dilemma withe my Princess almost 20 years ago. Too advanced for kindergarten, but I feared, too young to move forward to first grade comfortably.

    I chose to have her tested for the T&G program. For the remainder of that year, and into 1st grade, she attended half day of regular classes and half day of T&G program. This was the only way the program was offered at the time.

    By second grade, she was testing on a middle school level and they wanted to send her OVER TO THE MIDDLE SCHOOL for half day classes.

    That was when I refused and demanded that they provide her with AN APPROPRIATE education in HER classroom. No more shifting around.

    They finally did. It took some work, but she was provided with level-appropriate materials and " tutoring" while remaining with her friends and contemporaries. I basically had to argue that children who were behind the curriculum were automatically eligible for extra help. Why not children who were ahead?

    To this very day, she appreciates the fact that she was allowed to mature socially and emotionally at her own pace, instead of being pushed into an " older" classroom setting.

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  36. Just stopping in from BYC and I think you should keep her where she is. The school will offer her some classes that she can thrive in I'm sure when the time comes. Her grades are going to look awesome come time for college apps. PLUS who in the world wants to send their daughter off to college at 17!? This way you get to "hold on" to her for an extra year ;) Good luck with whatever you decide to do :D

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  37. Yeah, I can relate. Things you have shared about Bella remind me of stories I heard about me. Bella is smart and accomplished and that is a good thing! The less drama involved with that the better.

    My parents had the same option with me- I was reading before preschool and tragically bored in school. A combination of (mostly) understanding teachers/librarians /principals and g/t programming seemed to work best- my mom felt that I already stood out enough as being different without skipping a grade to be even more different.

    That said, I moved around a lot and ended up in private school later on, which was definitely more advanced. I would think that the year between kindergarten and 1st grade would be the time to advance a child, if the child was prepped ahead of time with the things they needed to learn from first grade. It would be kind of like being a new kid.

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  38. Wow, I thought I'd have something new to offer -- but I really don't. Everything I would say has already been covered.

    The Cliffs' Notes version: After the first day of kindergarten, the school administrators wanted to move my son up to first grade. I wrestled with the same issues -- keep him where he is and let him be bored and disconnected, or move him up to be more challenged but possibly behind the curve socially. Supplemental enrichment wasn't available (beyond what I would do at home), so I let him move up.

    Two things happened. First, his maturity was always a little behind the other kids in his class. That means that as the required effort gradually increased, the quality of his study skills did not increase at the same rate -- which means that most of the meetings I had with his teacher were about him not doing his homework.

    The second thing (also related to the study skills) was that we all accidentally rewarded him when he didn't have to put forth any effort to get his work done well. That was fine in the early years -- but when the work caught up with him (around third grade), he was embarrassed to have to work at it.

    Granted, we could have had these outcomes (or worse) if we had left him in kindergarten, and there were other factors involved that could have contributed to this regardless of what we decided to do. Today, he is a sophomore in college struggling to master the practical aspects of learning that he should have picked up in grade school -- but he's still an amazing young man with a bright future, and I'm very, very proud of him.

    You are asking the right questions and thinking through the right issues. Whatever path you take will have its own unique challenges, but you will make it work.

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  39. I have gone through this with both my sons (one is now 28 and the other 15). First son moved up to the next grade which worked out fine till Jr High school; he just wasn't at the same place emotionally as other kids his age. Grades slipped and had to struggle with him and tutors (not because he wasn't smart but because he wouldn't focus)

    Second son, kept him in same grade went to some special classes and became mentor in his class (in first grade) when he was done with his work the teacher had him help out other kids in the class that were struggling. He loved doing it and the kids loved learning with him and it reinforced everything he had learned. It was amazing for him socially and it gave him life skill at such a young age. He is now in the 10th grade and in honors or AP classes and the challenges are there for him everyday. It was keeping him interested and not bored at school that has made his schooling a success so far! good luck it's a tough decision.

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  40. My kid is a December baby and made the cutoff for Kindergarten by ONE day. He's always been the youngest in his class and was, for a while, the smallest, until he hit a huge growth spurt. He never indicated to me that he was picked on because of any of it. He's always been very bright - one day, in Kindergarten, the kids were going on a field trip, and the kids and the parental chaperones were all in the classroom waiting for the bus to take them on their trip. David volunteered to read a book to his classmates to keep them occupied, and he read it the way the teacher did - by holding the book against his stomach so that the kids sitting on the floor could see the pictures, and reading the words upside down from above the top edge of the book. His teacher told me that the other parents went into a panic, asking her "Are our kids supposed to be able to do that?"

    Being very young, David did have some maturity issues, but he did work them out very quickly. He's never advanced a grade, but he is taking AP and honors classes as a sophomore in high school now. He will graduate at 17 and won't turn 18 until halfway through his first year of college. He will enter College as a sophomore because of the International Baccalaureate Diploma that he is pursuing, so going for the standard 4 year degree, he won't even be 21 when he graduates with that dgeree. BUT, he is looking forward to it and thinks it's very cool. I was kind of surprised to see him pursue the more difficult coursework when we sat down to choose this year's classes, but I didn't discourage him and have let him know that I will offer any help that I can, whether it's getting him to tutoring sessions, should he need them, or helping him out here at home. So far, he is doing well.

    I think bringing Bella in on the decision is wise, and giving her a few weeks in the 1st grade as a "trial run" isn't going to hurt anything, either. You do have your own experiences and your sister's to think about, but remember that Bella is her own person and she may handle her experiences differently. It's horrible to be bored in school. She may feel well-prepared and eager to go off to college at 17. There's no way to predict the future, so acting for the now is best, I think.

    We can all share our stories here in your comments, and they're all very different. Make your decision based on what is best for your child now, not what's happened with anyone else. :)

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  41. Here's my thoughts, mostly based on when I was her age:

    At the end of first grade, my parents were given the option of bumping me on up to 3rd grade (skipping second.) They declined, thinking it would alienate me amongst my friends, etc. Socially, I think they were exactly right. I know girls adjust better than boys, but why make things hard? Although, I was perpetually bored throughout school. I ended up tesing into the gifted program that year and going twice a week for most of the afternoon. I loved loved loved gifted class in grade school!! It mostly was due to a wonderful teacher. She encouraged us to think on a larger level...opening up doors I didn't think of. Had us interviewing people in careers we liked at age 9. I still remember that. It gave me such confidence to talk to a grown up veternarian! IF you can find that kind of person w/ gifted class, I say do it! I grew up in a northern state with a good school system, though. We live in Alabama and our public schools aare pitiful, for the most part.

    Now, I have three kids and one is exceptionally bright as well. We homeschool but if I were to put them into school, I think two of them would test into gifted class. One would be so bored that he could skip a grade, although I wouldn't do it. I think, as you hinted at, it sets up too many potential problems at the older ages. I wouldn't want him to be the youngest in his peer group at 17, for example. Just asking for trouble, I think.

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  42. I can't give any advice about the grade-skipping thing, but I was a G/T kid my whole life, and it absolutely provided the extra "something" school needed to keep me interested.

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  43. I would never in a million years give advice to someone who doesn't know me, but you asked, so I will tell you my experience.

    I was put ahead a year in school and hated it. I felt like I constantly had to struggle to do well...I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I always needed to be near the top of the class, no matter which grade I was in so putting me ahead made that goal harder. I did fine, my life was good, it didn't damage me at all, I just remember hating the struggling feeling and also hating that everyone was always so much older than me. All my friends got to drive a full year before I did, I took driver's ed a year after all my friends and with the "younger" kids who were actually my age.

    I have no idea what is best for your situation, and I know I would have been bored like crazy had they not put me ahead, but I am just telling you the things I experienced. Go with your gut though...you know your daughter and what is best for her better than anyone else could ever know.

    Feel free to email me if you want to ask me anything.

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  44. It is a tough decision to make. I am an October baby also and was always the youngest in my class, but tested several grades higher in reading and comprehension every year. I actually chose to stay behind one more year in the ninth grade because I was younger and so I could show my horses and dogs one mre year in 4-H (that's my competitive side showing there).

    My oldest niece tested into the alpha classes in the first grade and loves them. She was bored in regular class and always was done with her work first. Last year she went three times a week to the alpha classes for a couple hours. This year (second grade) she is bused one day a week to another school for a whole day of classes. It went a little to her head at first, but she does really well in the classes.

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  45. One more thing I just thought of...I think these days it isn't any big deal for kids not to be the same age in grades. I think there are a lot of kids going up a grade for math, or reading or whatever, and I don't think it is as much of an issue as I found it to be when I was younger.

    Just wanted to be sure to balance out my opinion from before because I think it is pretty "normal" these days for kids to not be in the grade their age would suggest.

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  46. My mom was asked to place me ahead in first grade, after 2 short weeks in grade K. She did not want to, I stayed in K & enjoyed the GATE pro-gram a few days a week & even went on some of the field trips w/ the 1st & 2nd graders. A yr later she was asked the same,every year until 3rd grade, she did not let me jump a year.My 3rd grade year, GATE program was removed. I was super bored in class & would finish my work quickly & be given extra work to do to stay busy. So I statred to slack & do my work slower in 4th grade & focus more on socializing. BAD IDEA, from A+, to B-C.
    My mom regrets her choice. I did well in later years, deans list in college :) But , if the same happens to my now 4ry old daughter I will be sure to mover her ahead.

    If you can have your daughter socialize w/ a few of the 1st grade kids.It might help decide if she can be socially accepted by them. I knew a few kids who skipped a grade & were not & it made for a hard time.
    Good Luck!!

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  47. I started kindergarten at 4 and moved up regularly from there. Out of four kids that were eligible I was the only one who moved up early because the teachers and my parents felt I was emotionally ready - and I was. I graduated at 16.5 or so. I was a little early to mature so physically I was in with the other girls. I had no trouble socializing because my parents made the move to advance me early, before the social circles cemented themselves. This is key - you don't want her to skip a grade later, when it will be much more socially difficult. If you decide to do it, you must do it this year or next at the latest.
    The downside to the experience was being 17 for the first half-year of university in a province where the drinking age is 18. I did feel emotionally unready for the whole university experience and probably should've taken a year off, but things came out in the wash.

    OTOH my brother was a gifted child who stayed in his assigned year and started grade one at age 6. My mom decided not to move him, even though his test scores were better than mine, because she felt he wasn't emotionally ready. He turned out OK too.

    I think you probably already know which way Bella is leaning - from what you say it sounds like she could handle the move. If you have any other questions about the experience please feel free to ask.

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  48. I do not think you should give much weight to whether Bella will physically mature in HS "behind" older classmates if you move her up. Girls vary so widely now and it is tougher (or "more dangerous", depending on personality) to be "ahead" of the others. However, if you do give a lot of weight to that (perhaps from personal experience or something), you might want to consider that with you feeding her organic meat, she may mature a bit slower than most girls nowdays who eat lots of non-organic meat and milk. Of course they say you cannot easily guess when your kids will hit puberty based on your age, but I was much later than usual even for "back in the day" and my daughter was 2 years younger than me, BUT STILL A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER THAN most of her peers.

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  49. Mostly I lurk (and BTW glad to see you back in action here after your brief hiatus), but this is a fascinating discussion. From which I glean the following:

    • All this information is relevant and helpful, but in the end each person and each situation is unique and will play out in its own way.

    • The specifics of what the school does and does not have to offer matter enormously. A teacher can make or break an experience for a kid. Meet the G&T people, meet the first grade teacher, and feel them out as well.

    • You are well-attuned to Bella and, having put all this info (and more) in the hopper, the right decision will float up from below, or down from above, once digested.

    • It's not a once-and-for-all matter. Not only can you change your mind later--you will be paying attention and staying on top of this for years to come.

    • Even the "right" decision is unlikely to be perfect. That's life.

    One last remark--as problems go, this one (however difficult the decision) is a nice one to have :-)

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  50. My daughter is in 8th grade this year. Her kindergarten teacher and then her first grade teacher approached us about skipping her a grade, also. But my daughter was on the "young side" of her peers, meaning that she didn't watch much tv, wasn't "world wise" and it showed in comparison to a lot of her peers.

    The school brought it up to us, and after talking about it, they recommended that she stay put, and they reassured us that they'd provide individualized teaching. They agreed that the gap between her and the next grade was just too great, so we kept her where she was with the plan of at school and at home enrichment.

    What a mistake that was. The school did NOT do well AT ALL providing her individualized learning. As she got older (by 4th grade), she resented "having to do more school work than the other kids." She became accademically lazy, and we lovingly chide her even now about how you can't just quit something new because you weren't excellent at it immediately.

    We started homeschooling her in Algebra in seventh grade, and are homeschooling Algebra 2 this year. That's the only way she isn't absolutely bored out of her mind. But that also means that she has a work load that exceeds her peers, which means she has less free time, which means she resents her parents for making her work so much. Sigh.

    If I had it to do over again, I would move her up from second grade to third grade at the Christmas break, half way through the year. The first half of the year, I'd teach her after school, and expect the school to also teach her, whatever the third graders were learning. That's what would have worked best for her, looking back. I'll leave my email here if you want to chat about it some more, but after you write it down, will you please delete it for me? So I don't get spammed like crazy. lansdown@tds.net

    My daughter took the SAT exam in seventh grade, when she was 11, and she scored at 510 on each category, which is the average score for end of 12th grade. We've done our part with home enrichment, but it's been VERY difficult adding it to a kid's normal life. And the school just flat out dropped the ball. Every single year, we met with teachers at the beginning of the school year, and they made all kinds of promises that they didn't keep. We called, we met, we sent notes, we met, we made demands that they do what they said they'd do, and they just didn't. Year after year. So she sat in school, bored out of her mind all day, and then got (gets) mad at us over the enrichment. Aaaaarrrgh!

    I hope it goes better for you!

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  51. I don't know if you know/remember, but Mom skipped a grade. I believe she skipped 3rd and went to 4th. You might want to talk to her about that.

    Zach started school when he was 4, but I think the only problem that he faced was getting his license later than everyone else! And I know when I was around that age it was a BIG deal to be able to drive. Bless his heart he had to wait until the beginning of the next school year, which Bella would have to do as well.

    I'm not sure if skipping a grade was ever presented to my parents as an option after he started early, but I do know we were both in the TAG program. I enjoyed it a lot. It made me feel really special to be able to leave class to go be 'smart.' I learned more real life applications in the TAG classes and it gave me something to do instead of being bored in regular class.

    If you are going to skip her ahead, I would do it now while she's young. The kids will be less likely to look at her differently because she is younger and smarter. She seems to have the same strong willed, independent attitude that all the woman have in our family. In my option, I would do it. I think she will be much happier learning new things and being challenged. She might still be a candidate for the TAG program even if she is skipped ahead.

    Also, something else to consider...I'm not sure about any other high schools, but we were given the opportunity to graduate in December instead of May if you were a college bound student who had accumulated all the necessary credits for your diploma.

    I would definitely talk to Mom and Zach too and see what their personal experiences were.

    Miss you!

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  52. Personally, I wouldn't skip her to 1st grade. I think its important that she stay with her own age group. But, being a TAG kid myself, I definitely think you should have her tested and put into the TAG program now. Also, you might look into the College Station Elementary/Fuller Jr High/Mills High School Universal Studies program. If not for elementary, then at least for Jr High when she gets there. It IS a bus ride for sure, but well worth it. I graduated from Mills from the University Studies program and loved it. I wish I had of known about Fuller when I was in Jr. High or College Station in elementary. It's a nice alternative to magnet or private schools, because its a public school and therefore free, but they have some of the BEST teachers and the program is one of the top in the country.

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  53. Belinda, I sent you an email answer to your dilemma.

    Judy

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  54. Tough one! There are so many comments here and they fall on both sides of the question... If you feel the school will do a good job of enriching and you are able to supplement, maybe staying put is good. If there's any question about that, especially the part about what the school can/will do, maybe moving her up is the better choice. I would say if there's the option of a "trail run," do that - then you'll have a better idea. Bella is smart - I think she can give you feedback, too!
    Always remember that this really isn't a make-or-break scenario. People switch gears all the time. Good luck! ~annie

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  55. There is so much that depends on the child.

    I was grade-skipped, and it was a horrible experience, b/c I couldn't handle the 30-minute lunch period and FREAKED. I was uber-smart, but the social stress was too much. I was already younger than my classmates. I fondly remember a teacher in 4th grade who recognized my intelligence and did NOT discipline me for talking all the time with bad behavior grades. She saw that I was bored, and gave me special assignments. I'll always love her for that.

    My daughter got into G&T, but the curriculum called a TON of extra hard work - and NO adjustment to the grades for it. She hated it after the first year.

    So, it depends on how mature your child is socially. It depends on her thirst for knowledge.

    And silly as it sounds, I remember being upset that my friends could all drive before I could...so...don't forget what it might be like for her in those teen years, being younger than her classmates!

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  56. Our daughter was in exactly the same place. Smart, smart, quiet, and bored. The school wanted her to skip a grade, and we opted not to. She was given extra work, went to the grade ahead for certain subjects during early elementary. Upper elementary she was put into advanced classes. Now, she is a senior, 2nd in her class, and we're going on college visits next weekend.

    You are going to have to work hard either way. If you keep her where she is, you'll have to work to keep her busy and interested. If she skips, you'll have to work to make sure she can keep up. It's not just for elementary school, it is for the entire 12 years.

    What we chose worked for us!

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  57. What did you end up doing?

    I've read through all of these suggestions/advice. That is a tough decision.

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  58. My husband was skipped in elementary school and suggests leaving her at her grade level. His reasoning is that finding ways to challenge her at her level will provide her with more specialized attention than skipping her a grade and making her the same as everyone else. We were both quite young for our grades through school and noticed it the most when we hit college.

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  59. I was skipped. I would reccommend leaving her with her same-age peers, for all the same reasons as everyone else.

    Being bored is manageable, you can do a hell of a lot at home or even just reading under your desk. Being miserable because you can't fit in with your peers makes for a miserable school experience.

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  60. I think you should place her in whichever grade you believe she fits in with socially. I beleive that the social aspect of school is pretty important and if you are socially ahead or behind your peers it could be rough.

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  61. I was skipped ahead as was my husband - I advise against it. Keep her with her peers, add in the extra attention at school and keep her stimulated at home. I regret being moved ahead, it would not have put me at any disadvantage to stay with my classmates but to be moved ahead was quite difficult. One year difference my not seem like much to us but to a child thats a huge leap developmentally.

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  62. I have experience with this not as the parent, but as the child. I was an early reader and had advanced language skills early on in school. For several years I spent time with an academic counsellor-type teacher with other kids in different classes and grades where we did some more advanced fun learning stuff. Those experiences remain some of the more memorable of my time in elementary school. I think Bella would love something like that.

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  63. We are amdist this RIGHT now...

    I however asked the school to give my son an IQ test...

    he measured ahead of 99.9% of his peers...first off this explains a lot...

    however, my son is emotionally, and behaviorally immature.

    We opted to keep him in first grade, however he will get to take mathmatics on the computer, and he will get T&G program daily, along with a mentor...

    one day at a time Mom, and congrats

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  64. Studies on the inability to adjust socially for gifted kids is a bunch of crap. These kids are GIFTED. They are usually much more comfortable with kids OLDER than they are. The only real concern (in my eyes) comes in when all classmates are dating and getting periods (assuming you may have a slow bloomer to begin with) and driving classes (assuming they'll even still have Driver's Ed in schools).

    I say take the chance while you have it. I'm a bit jaded I guess. Both my kids are incredibly gifted, but our schools REFUSE to grade skip and do NOT have GT programs. My oldest, I'd skip in a heartbeat. My youngest, I would not. (She's also got Asperger's, which is bad news socially to begin with.)

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  65. Here's another spin on it that I forgot to mention. The really bright kids who aren't challenged often become the troublemakers in the upper grades. We had kids who were pure genius, but because they were bored, they found other ways to occupy their time...not so good ways. And I can easily see that happen in my own Kasia (even though she's got a great head on her shoulders).We're in NY so it really depends on the district.

    I say give her the opportunities as they arise. They wouldn't have given her the chance if they didn't think she was worthy or able to handle it. And if it doesn't work out (though I think those chances are incredibly slim), they may allow her to go back without the stigma of being "held back."

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  66. Armywife, are you sure it isn't Asperger's? There are a LOT more kids who are gifted but socially behind - in a nutshell, the very definition of an Aspie.

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  67. I want to thank you all for the great input on this--it's been very helpful to read everyone's stories and hear your opinions.

    In the days since I posted this, we've done more testing, more talking, and consulted more of the district's educators. We've made a decision, and I'll be posting about it later this week, probably after my mom's surgery tomorrow.

    I love The Internets.

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  68. I haven't read all 67 suggestions you've received, but I will say that my daughter entered kindergarten a year early. She did really well but always felt like she had to struggle. It hampered her self-esteem. If I had to do it all over again, I would have made a different choice.

    Is there a way the school or you can add enrichment to her schedule where she is?

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  69. Whoa, I'm WAY late on this post... 68 replies!? Holy crap... anyway... I have 2 kids of my 5 who were reading in Kindy, and advanced in several areas, and BORED.

    Child One: We were not given the "skip to first" option. He scored 1 point short in math to qualify for AIG (academically/intellectually gifted) and was thus, sitting in class, bored mindless. Boredom bred restlessness, which bred trouble. It was a downward spiral. He is now a 19 yr old drop out who mows lawns for a living.

    Child 2: Was enrolled in AIG, has only been off the a/b honor roll once in his entire elementary years, and is now in middle school, still in advanced classes. He LOVES school, he is NEVER in trouble, he is not bored. He aspires to be a doctor.

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  70. I was your daughter.

    My parents opted to move me into a higher grade. It was not a stellar social experience.

    When I saw the same thing happening with my own daughter, we looked into homeschooling.

    She's 11 now ... and still homeschooled ... and a far happier girl than I was at her age.

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  71. I don't know if this is an opption for you guys or not, but what about homeschooling? My husband and I were homeschooled and have plans to do this with our children. I found from my experience as a student and now as a parent that homeaschooling can allow so much room for learning, and going at the childs own pace.

    I don't know how important education is to you and your family. Personally we're practicing unschooling or child-lead education. They learn what they want when they want. I know a lot of people who have unschooled. A lot of these people are extreamly bright in some areas and can interact with other people wonderfully (I swear you don't need to worry about socialization!). But then they might have a really hard time in other areas. For instance, my husband is brilliant when it comes to working with or fixing anything, but spelling is hard for him. Similarly I write well, but am quite slow in math. It just depends on the kid.

    But I also know a lot of homeschoolers who gave their kids a full education, kids that went to Harvard and Yale and are lawyers and doctors now.

    Homeschooling is a lot of parent work, but sometimes it makes things easier, and you know exactly where your child is in their education. It also allows for some awesome family time.

    Just a thought. Good luck in your decision.

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  72. Have read only the first few responses and have to agree with Julie Pippert (and not just because she's a MOMocrat.) We faced same issue with our eldest when she was in K last year. She entered K reading beyond grade level (as a former teacher I assessed her!), has always been what we considered "intellectually advanced" for her age esp in terms of language arts and vocabulary, and I admit we were a little bit concerned when we saw how much cutting pasting and gluing went on in her K class. We knew immediately that she would be bored. That she wouldnt be challenged and that she would have been much better off in 1st grade where "real" learning was done.

    We were wrong.

    Bunny loved the cutting pasting and gluing. She's actually kind of sloppy when it comes to art (she rushes) so K taught her to slow down and focus on details. At times she was a little bored, but socially, leaving her in K was the right thing to do. Plus, we found out later after thinking she was a math whiz that her number concepts were actually only slightly ahead of grade level.

    Now that she is in 1st I can see we made the right decision not to push it. K is all about preparing kids to go to school. Not just the sitting quietly and following directions stuff, but the routine of it all. The learning to deal with 20 other bodies in your space all day. The remembering to bring library books back to school, not to leave your jacket on the play yard etc.

    In 1st grade there is more differentiation--she is learning to challenge herself, and for me that is the true sign of intellectual brilliance. We're happy with the decision we made. Plus, so far, she really loves school. She has 11 more years to learn to really hate it, we didn't want to start her on that path any earlier than we had to.

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