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    #137858 - 09/12/12 09:58 AM How to decide--double skip
    Kai Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 647
    My 10 year old son was homeschooled until this past spring. This year he is attending a very small private school as a 6th grader (he is 5th grade age) with an additional year of acceleration in math. I'm wondering if I should pursue the idea of a second skip (for the reasons outlined below) and I'm hoping for guidance about how to decide from those who have gone through this.

    The school is so small that they have combined the 6th and 7th grades for almost all of his classes. He is very happy and has found a home socially with the 7th graders. He finds the 6th graders dull.

    We decided to put him in the 7th grade math class (prealgebra) because we weren't sure how overwhelmed he'd be by school in general. He did prealgebra last year and is more than ready for algebra. He is by far the strongest student in his math class (and everyone else is in 7th or 8th grade). The school is open to the idea of moving him into algebra this year if needed.

    I have no doubt that he could handle the 7th grade work--he is essentially doing it now. Socially he's in with the 7th graders. Other than the fact he is young, it seems that it would be the appropriate placement.

    FWIW, I went through the IAS for a second skip (he took the ITBS at the 7th grade level last year and I had the scores reported as compared to 5th, 6th, and 7th graders) and it showed him as being an "excellent candidate." His ITBS scores as compared to end-of-year 6th graders were at the 98th percentile. He is HG with some motor skill and processing speed issues.

    Since he is essentially doing the work of the 7th graders, maybe I should leave it alone. But I can't assume that he will continue to be with this same group next year. On the other hand, the idea of him graduating at 16 is kind of freaking me out.

    Any advice would be most appreciated!

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    #137863 - 09/12/12 10:25 AM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: Kai]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    What happens after 6th grade? What are his options for middle school and high school? I'd be looking down the road as much as what's going to happen this year.

    Also, fwiw, if he's in a small school and has found he fits in with the 7th grade students - how many students are there in each grade? It's possible if it's a very small school (one class per grade) the differences in fitting in may be related to personalities as much as age difference, so if you took the same student and threw them into a much larger pool of students at a larger school, they might not necessarily find the 6th graders "dull".

    polarbear

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    #137865 - 09/12/12 10:30 AM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: polarbear]
    Kai Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 647
    Originally Posted By: polarbear
    What happens after 6th grade? What are his options for middle school and high school? I'd be looking down the road as much as what's going to happen this year.


    The school goes from grades 6-12 with the IB Diploma Program in the last two years.

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    #137871 - 09/12/12 11:02 AM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: Kai]
    Cricket2 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/11/09
    Posts: 2172
    Loc: Colorado
    We've only done a single skip and with a girl so I'm not sure how much help I'll be but I have a few thoughts. Given what you are saying, it sounds like the math options are a bit slower than what I'm seeing with my 7th grader (she's not the one who skipped). Since this is a private school, how does their math curriculum/placement compare to the other schools in the area? For instance, at my dd11's school, the typical, non-accelerated route for math entails a series called Connect math (I in 6th and II in 7th) and then Algebra I in 8th. The kids who are on the accelerated track are taking Algebra I in 7th. That amounts to a pretty good sized group of kids. There are also a few who are doing Algebra I in 6th, geometry in 7th, and then Algebra II in 8th.

    It sounds like you plan to be at this school through the end of high school, so it may be a moot point, but if he were to change to a public high school later, I'd want to know if the math expectations/their accelerated track was similar to his current school's.

    How young for grade is he with the single skip? In other words, would he have been older for grade if he were a 5th grader this year? We had a little hesitancy on skipping our older dd b/c she was already the youngest in grade pre-skip (she, too, skipped 5th) but it has worked out well. She's now a 10th grader.

    I guess on the 'how do you decide' question it comes down to whether they can meet his needs without doing the skip. What pushed us over the top on going forward was realizing that the school she had been attending at that point as well as the school was set to attend for middle school weren't making it fit at all without the skip. We could have accelerated her to a reasonable point in math with subject acceleration, but she needed major acceleration in all subject other than math and the least acceleration in math.

    If your ds is at the point where he really needs major acceleration in all subjects, not just math, I'd be inclined to consider another skip maybe at the end of this year to track with the 7th graders he is working with already.

    eta: Oh, and FWIW, my oldest will graduate high school when she is 16 as well. The idea has gotten less and less scary over time wink .


    Edited by Cricket2 (09/12/12 11:05 AM)
    _________________________
    Study Strategies for Accelerated Learners

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    #137880 - 09/12/12 11:36 AM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: Kai]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    If the school is quite flexible, I'd lean toward accelerating all the classes necessary to be a good fit, but not accelerating on the books. I would look at how many classes the school offers for when your DS gets to high school -- will they be able to accommodate his progression? Do they have AP or similar classes and dual enrollment options with colleges? How high to they go in math/science? If they have enough variety in the higher level classes, you might be able to squeeze another year out of the school without the double skip.

    Then again, graduating at 16 isn't so bad. I took my last high school classes at age 16, and spent my senior year as a freshly turned 17yo at the local university through our state's post-secondary enrollment program. It was fine. Depends on the kid.

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    #137883 - 09/12/12 11:45 AM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: Kai]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    My eldest did a double-skip. He was also at a very small school, and for the most part, everything worked out very well. Based on our experience, when the school is very small, it's a bit easier for a much younger child to fit in with everyone else. I expect it has to do with feeling less peer pressure.

    Unfortunately, the school no longer exists. frown We sent him to a charter school last year and it was a disaster. He learned next to nothing and was unhappy socially. I think that the age difference becomes much more significant when the other kids are adolescents and your child isn't. This was definitely a real challenge last year at the larger school. It may not be such an issue at a smaller school. It wasn't a big deal when my son was a ten-year-old seventh grader in a class of five or six kids, but was an issue when he was an 11-year-old 8th grader in a class of 80 kids.

    My advice is to think about different things and try to weigh them to help guide you. For example, does your son want another skip? Mine did. What about the stability of the current school? Has it been around for a while? Does it look like it will be around for a while? Can he go through 12th grade there? If not, I advise thinking seriously about where you'll send him for high school. Moving from a small school to a big one is tough. Doing that when some of the students are 6 years older than you...well, that's really tough. Academics are important, but so is being able to fit in, and when physiological changes are well underway in some kids but not at all in yours, there are emotional gaps that simply can't be bridged. Again, in a small school, this can be less of an issue. In a big school, it's huge.

    I'm not too worried about DS finishing high school when he's 16. He won't have to go to college right away and there are many great things he could do with a free year or two. YMMV.

    I understand that the idea of a second skip seems weird. It seemed very weird to us when we were thinking about it back then. You've just become used to the idea of one skip, when you realize that another one might be in order. When it's no longer an abstract idea, it can be hard to get your head around it.

    HTH.

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    #137885 - 09/12/12 11:49 AM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: Kai]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Well, we've done a triple skip.

    It's been fine. More than fine, actually.

    We went through some really rough spots during 8th-9th grades, though-- that is when the executive skills expectations seem to be most out of whack with HG/PG maturation at ages 8-12. As Val notes, it's VERY awkward for not-yet-adolescents to be surrounded by all that hormonally-fueled adolescence. It improves as the child ages into adolescence.

    We were very uneasy about our DD's matriculation into a college environment at age 14 at that point (when she was 9, 10, 11). Now that she's only 18 months away, though, it is far less daunting.

    She has friends, they don't seem to really care that she's 3-5 years younger, and she is content with her AP classes. Happy, in fact.

    One caution that I'd offer when someone begins considering a 2+ year acceleration is that this may well change the picture considerably for college. For us, this didn't matter very much. Because of her disability (hidden, medical) we already planned for her to have the option (strongly encouraged, in fact) to stay at home for undergrad, even at age 17-18. So now she'll be 14 instead. Oh well.

    Sending your child 3K miles away for undergrad is almost unbearable if they'll only be 14, 15 at the time, though. It limits you to one of just a handful of programs intended for kids like that, and maybe that is an okay thing-- but maybe it isn't, too.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #137904 - 09/12/12 01:30 PM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: Kai]
    SFrog Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/07/11
    Posts: 156
    Loc: IA, USA
    As a parent, it can be emotionally battering when you drop an 11 year-old off at the high school. Every morning I'm worried about rear ending someone because I can't stop glancing in rear view mirror as my daughter walks toward the entrance.

    But the other side of that coin is hearing her say how easy her high school biology class is and thinking how miserable she'd be if she were stuck in a middle school science class.

    It can be a tough choice - with neither option being ideal - but at the end of the day, I'd rather she be out of sync socially and have no chance at playing on varsity than to have her learning that half effort is all you need put forth to get As.

    -S.F.
    _________________________
    For gifted children, doing nothing is the wrong choice.

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    #137907 - 09/12/12 01:42 PM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: HowlerKarma]
    Old Dad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/30/12
    Posts: 423
    The suggestion was given to, "Think as far ahead as possible." and I want to emphasis that, further ahead in fact that you'd probably like to. If you can get differentiation enough to keep your child challenged at their current grade level I'd encourage doing so for multiple reasons...

    1. Additional years in school which, with most GT kids, means more college credit courses taken in HS, meaning less to take in college and better prepared to meet the rigors of college (I know, thinking about college at this point is almost painful)

    2. Graduation at an early age and then going to college at an early age only works well if a young person is emotionally ready and has the maturity to be able to handle life away on their own in college. A couple more years in HS taking college level courses not only lets the student gain more college credits at the expense of the HS rather than you (yes, I know the taxpayer flips the bill, that includes me too) but gives the student a chance to mature socially and emotionally. Once college comes around, more GT students probably fail because of either failure to be challenged in HS or social emotional reasons than anything else.

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    #137910 - 09/12/12 02:05 PM Re: How to decide--double skip [Re: Kai]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Old Dad makes a great point about graduating and moving on to college at an early age.

    I'll add one more thing (and I may be the only parent on earth that feels this way but here goes!) - I don't want my kids going off to college early for a very selfish reason - *me*! And I do think that even though it might not be the highest-intellectual challenge for them, hanging out with family until they are 17/18 still has a lot to offer smile

    polarbear

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