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    #247378 - 07/24/20 06:55 PM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: bethanyc3]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3663
    I just remembered that OP noted in a different thread that OP's child was placed in 1st grade for reading and math this past school year, immediately after kindergarten screening and placement measures--so the teacher's recommendation to skip 1st grade is based presumably on his performance in an actual first grade academic setting this year, including social interactions with the same likely set of peers that would be in the receiving 2nd grade classroom in the event of a skip. That lowers the risk of negative social consequences considerably, as he has functionally been in a split K/1st placement this year anyway, and actually makes not skipping more like a retention (unless the school continues to SSA reading and math to form a 1st/2nd split next year).

    If OP comes back to this thread, one hopes this discussion will be helpful to her.
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    #247382 - 07/25/20 02:11 PM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: bethanyc3]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3289
    Loc: California
    I have two kids who skipped grades, and their experiences were mixed.

    The better academic fit was obvious.

    When their non-skipped peers were 11-ish, those kids started talking about "things I don't understand." Mine knew they were too young to understand that kind of talk, and it made them uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.

    There were also problems with hating when people knew they were grade skipped because it made them stand out in a way they didn't like.

    If I had to do it over, I'd consider the skips much more skeptically.

    IMO, the positive aspects of grade skips are pushed too enthusiastically on this board, which can create a bias. When my kids were younger, I remember parents here laughing at clueless teachers saying, "Oh, but your child won't be able to get a driver's license when her friends get one" and "when other teenagers are dating, your child will feel left out." Yeah, well, stuff like that came true. It's easy to dismiss these concerns when the child is only 5, but time passes and suddenly that kid is prepubescent in an environment where everyone is moving through adolescence.

    It's possible to undo a skip, but that process doesn't come without pain.

    I have friends who were skipped 2-3 years, and for them, high school was a horror of basically being a kid among older adolescents who could drive and have a job. One grade skip doesn't really have that effect unless your child has a birthday near the deadline and would be the youngest in his age-grade class. This is the case for one of mine, and it's a lot like two skips. There is honestly a lot to be said about going through the physical and emotional changes of adolescence with people who are going through it at the same time.

    As tenth graders, two of my kids enrolled in a dual enrollment program at a local community college. These programs are wonderful in general, and for very bright kids, they offer an opportunity to go to high school classes with age peers during part of the day, and college classes otherwise. It's not seen as odd because everyone is doing it. These programs offer a huge advantage of being free college. My eldest got a free AS --- no tuition, no fees, free books, and even a free bus pass (all the students at the college get one).

    The problem with being a parent is that we're going to make big mistakes. There's really no way around that, because we have no knowledge about how our kids will respond to whatever worked for us or didn't work. We have no knowledge about how the five-year-old who's enthusiastic about something with long-term consequences will feel in ten years. So my best advice to you is to think very, very carefully about this decision. Try to think about everything that will be different for your child if you go ahead and what's good and bad about that. Consider his personality, his maturity, 7th grade, 11th grade, his relationships with other kids --- everything you can think of.

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    #247392 - 07/25/20 05:52 PM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: Val]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 56
    Loc: Australia
    If they look, talk & walk like, and are otherwise indistinguishable from, older peers at the time acceleration is considered, it’s likely to work out. My eldest started long day care at six weeks of age, in a room with children up to two years of age. By the time she was three, she was globally identical to the 4-5 year olds who were about to start school and visibly more advanced than those who had only then recently turned 4 (she didn’t come across as a precocious 3 yr old, but rather as an above average 5 yr old - strangers everywhere would strike up conversations with her about whether she was excited to start school and she’d tell them she was only three, although she did end up starting because I thought it seemed a foregone conclusion to everyone else). The child care centre assessed her as school ready but because she was so much younger than the school start cut off age, she did have to undergo formal testing by an education psychologist.

    She sailed through school and I still remember the high school principal’s shock when, at the end of eighth grade he congratulated us on raising ‘such an incredibly mature 14 year old’, we told him she was 12. She reached the various stages of puberty at the same time as her classmates and she started dating a classmate (a fine & very reliable young man who is still her BF) just before her 15th birthday and he drove her around as soon as he got his license, so none of these social considerations were ever an issue.

    My youngest would have been in the middle of the age range if she had started in her correct year, but I noticed that as a three year old at her dance school concert, she absolutely towered over all her age peers (the next tallest wasn’t even up to her shoulder) and her motor control was demonstrably more advanced. Since the principal of the primary school was already familiar with her siblings, he was quite open to the idea of early entry but suggested she attend the pre-kindergarten preparation sessions. I couldn’t take time off work, so my best friend took my daughter. Reportedly, the principal watched for but could not identify my daughter amongst this group, so that became the litmus test for early entry.

    Neither of my girls have had any issues whatsoever due to being younger than their classmates and acceleration has been successful for them but..

    Serendipitously, DS has not been grade accelerated. Whilst intellectually & physically more capable than his sisters, he wasn’t socially ready to start a year early (noting that his birthday would have made it almost a double promotion if he had). By the end of kindergarten, it became clear that he was very far ahead of the curriculum and as I’ve posted in other threads, he was pretty much given free rein to direct his own learning as long as he wasn’t disruptive in class. This has afforded him the opportunity to reach a ‘summit view’ of class activities. He hasn’t been led through a fairly narrow school curriculum. He has explored the terrain himself, looked at topics from various angles, been the sole architect of his internal model of reality and formed and tested his own hypotheses. In many of his reports, his primary & high school teachers have commented, in some form or other, that they have learned from him. I doubt that they would make such comments lightly and his sisters, successful as they’ve been, with the eldest graduating high school as dux, have never received such comments on their reports.

    He happens to also be a great all rounder, excelling in sports, music, chess and other areas and has a humble, friendly and easy going demeanour, so he enjoys great popularity though he has never actively sought it. He is undoubtedly an asset to the school. Therefore, whilst acceleration has certainly been successful for our family, radical subject acceleration whilst remaining with age peers has been an even better experience. I hope that high school won’t become ‘the best years of his life’, but it’s certainly been a terrific experience so far and worth not rushing through.

    ETA: The benefits of not whole grade accelerating DS were only clear after my youngest had already started school. Even in hindsight, I honestly don’t know if earlier realisation would have changed our decisions. Each child has to be considered individually. My post is to feed back that more than one path can potentially be successful if progress is monitored.

    FWIW, each of my children have fed back that they have been and are very happy and would not have wished for a different experience.


    Edited by Eagle Mum (07/27/20 06:04 AM)

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    #247398 - 07/26/20 07:32 PM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: Val]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1641
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: Val
    It's possible to undo a skip, but that process doesn't come without pain.


    That is true, but neither does lock step schooling come without pain, immense pain for some children. The problem is that there is no problem free approach.

    I think that this is an area that is DEEPLY impacted by what AEH says about many of the issues that happen with acceleration stemming from schools not being accustomed to accelerating children.

    One of the cases I was most struck by in Miraca Gross's book was of the child who completed yr11 twice and then yr12 twice. Not to hold them back, not because they hadn't done exceptionally well (they had), but because earlier acceleration had bought them TIME. Time which they could use to fully study twice as many subjects at a yr11/12 level as is typically done.

    This is a marvelously flexible approach to allowing a child to progress out of primary school as they need to, but not necessarily leave school as fast as they left primary school. It certainly won't work for everyone, but it's a great option. Options like this can ONLY work when a school is incredibly supportive and really embraces the process with teachers and student body.

    Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
    If they look, talk & walk like, and are otherwise indistinguishable from, older peers at the time acceleration is considered, it’s likely to work out.


    This has probably been a significant factor in things going well for our accelerated child. It's not without issues, but no-one thinks things would be better without the skip (and it has been discussed more than once).

    Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
    She sailed through school and I still remember the high school principal’s shock when, at the end of eighth grade he congratulated us on raising ‘such an incredibly mature 14 year old’, we told him she was 12.


    I went to collect my child from a specialist music lesson and both child and teacher regaled me with the teacher's complete inability to hold my child's age in mind (which teacher did know).

    Teacher reported how he had said: "Now I know I am being VERY hard on you for a 14 yr old. These are tiny technical details I don't usually get into until much later, but I think you are ready for this."
    Child: "But I am not 14..."
    Teacher: "Well very hard on you for a 13 yr old! But you can do this!"
    Child: "I am 12."
    Teacher: "We can still do this!"

    This was the most extreme version of this conversation, but we regularly had to correct the age perception. Especially with regard to the emotion of pieces. ("It's very hard for a 14yr old to get the full emotion into the playing of this piece" "Twelve yr old").

    Music is an interesting situation, because it is completely acceptable to progress at your natural pace. It is normal for there to be some VERY young participants in our elite national youth orchestra, which is made up mostly of tertiary and final year high school students. And there ARE conversations about sending your 12/14/16/18 yr old off to a (probably interstate) residential music camp where the age bracket is "Under 25". Most people would have to have a good hard think about sending their middle school daughter interstate to a residential opportunity where the majority of the attendees are in the 18-25 bracket (note that 18 is the legal drinking age here too). And that is very reasonable. But the conversations about these issues have a very different tenor to the conversations about school acceleration.

    Obviously you could argue that it all boils down to protecting the child. But there doesn't ever seem to be a developmental argument around music opportunities, that your child will somehow fail to develop normally if grouped with older children/youth of equal ability. It's very much a question of "Is it safe?" and my experience is that it is very gendered (families that would send the son but not the daughter for example, music teachers who recommend girls should not be allowed to attend before 18). And you do see tiny little boys crossing the stage with their instruments at times (some who must be older than they look). I am not sure that my thoughts are leading anywhere useful, but it's an interesting contrast to the advice about acceleration in schools, where being a physically more developed girl is an advantage and a small boy is disadvantage!

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    #247399 - 07/26/20 08:48 PM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: aeh]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1641
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    IOW, the social risks of whole grade acceleration are also related to a self-fulfilling prophecy/feedback loop. If more children were allowed developmentally-appropriate whole grade accelerations, there would be less social stigma and fewer negative social impacts, but institutions tend to be opposed to grade skipping because of the fear of negative social impacts...which leads to fewer children being grade skipped...and thus greater negative social impacts of grade skips...


    I was just thinking about this futher. The state I was born in had a complicated start of school system, all children would start school the term after their 5th birthday and then must do at least three and no more than four terms of school. Actually when I went through we had trimesters, so probably it was at least two and no more than five. I started school, did one term (trimester) and then moved states, where I was put into yr1, having "already done" FYOS. I moved back to my home state a few years later and progressed as per the grade I had been in for the last few years. I was never formally or deliberately grade skipped, but never the less I finished school a month younger than my grade skipped child will be when she finishes. Functionally I was grade skipped. And it was never mentioned.

    The year I started high school birthdays and ages and who was the youngest in the class were all discussed... There were kids younger than me. Two or three I think in my grade (about 100 kids). We had a chat about the school start thing and it was never discussed again. Every now and then I chat with other adults from my state who had the same experience. "Oh yeah, I turned 17 right at the end of yr12, but it wasn't for any real reason, it was just that school start thing".

    I suspect it would have been a much bigger deal if I had been "skipped" rather than just randomly very young due to the nature of our system. My state was deeply anti gifted education at the time.

    I think we have developed a great deal more cultural baggage around why kids are older or younger than normal (if they are) and how very very important it is not be different because something bad might happen. There is now huge reluctance to hold a child back a year too. We must all be the same in the sausage factory.

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    #247400 - 07/26/20 09:00 PM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: bethanyc3]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1641
    Loc: Australia
    Now that I think about it, and I have literally never considered it before, most of the conversations I have had with adults about being young for grade have started with my child's Grade skip... I just don't mention it to most people. So all of these people would have been friends or people I felt comfortable discussing it with, possibly including parents of the child's friend in birthday party scenarios.

    "Oh they're skipped? Won't they finish school really young? Are you worried about that?"

    "Well actually I was slightly younger than they will be when I finished school, because of the school start thing..."

    "Oh, right... Oh, did you do the school start thing? I did that too. How old were you when you finished? Oh! I was even younger than you when I finished school!..... I guess they will be fine then, we were fine!"

    And as I further consider this, 40 years ago they probably allowed more discretion to teachers about whether children who were SUPPOSED to do 4 or 5 terms did only 1 or 2. So most of these people, all of the ones I can remember clearly discussing this with, are clearly intelligent and now highly educated and employed. They probably WERE somewhat deliberately "skipped" but in a very informal "the teacher sends them if they are ready" system that allowed kids who were "ready" to move on faster, while also being deeply scathing of acknowledging giftedness or allowing any other sort of accommodations.

    How interesting this thought train has been.

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    #247402 - 07/26/20 09:48 PM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: MumOfThree]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3663
    That is quite interesting, MoT. Something similar happened among my in-laws (spouses of my sibling group). Only one of them was actually grade-skipped (and that was at teacher initiative), but most of them graduated young because they had birthdays right before the age cutoff for school entry. They all proceeded quite successfully to elite universities.

    My parent social group is heavily weighted for homeschoolers, so grade-age lockstep placement is not a group norm anyway. In either direction.

    I agree that there was probably more latitude a few decades back than there is now, on our continent as well. Some of the things my parents convinced the local school district to do for us would have required even more effort and persuasion if attempted now. If they would even have allowed them. We were fortunate to have the district's lead psychologist as an ally. Which is part of why I do what I do now.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #247404 - 07/27/20 04:32 AM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: MumOfThree]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 56
    Loc: Australia
    ‘This was the most extreme version of this conversation, but we regularly had to correct the age perception.’

    By the time it was our youngest’s turn, we didn’t bother correcting anyone. For her birthdays turning n years of age, most of the cards she received were captioned ‘Happy (n+1)th Birthday’. We weren’t intentionally deceiving anyone, but felt there was no need to create awkward situations.
    ETA: I usually wrote the age birthday on invitations but I guess they didn’t pay attention. The probable scenario was that there were a string of birthday parties and it was assumed everyone was turning the same age.


    Edited by Eagle Mum (07/27/20 05:00 AM)

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    #247406 - 07/27/20 07:47 AM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: bethanyc3]
    spaghetti Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 443
    I do think being mature helps a lot. It was funny that teachers that didn't know about the skip remarked on the report card about how mature my child was!

    AND this is something we didn't know to consider, but DD would have been in the class of covid 2020, but instead was in the class of blissfully unaware 2019. Now, that's a social win. Got to experience all the social experience of senior year.

    In high school when dd was the last to drive, which limited some high school options, she said that not driving was the stupidist reason not to skip a grade.

    My immature child who was never challenged academically but always challenged socially--- no we did not skip that one. Would have loved to hold that one back if academics would have worked. It really is child dependent.

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    #247407 - 07/27/20 11:41 AM Re: How bad is the social aspect of grade skipping? [Re: spaghetti]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3663
    Our DC also experienced the incidental benefit of moving from class of covid to class of pre-covid for HS graduation, but since we were homeschooling by that point, it made a little bit less of a difference. Though DC did get to experience a final HS musical and prom (since our district allows homeschoolers to participate in extra/co-curriculars, and an in-district friend invited DC to the prom), which were both cancelled this year. (Sadly, the musical was actually cancelled days before opening night--after the final dress rehearsal, but before the first show.)

    Driving also is decreasingly important as a social marker, in my observation. My DC didn't get a license until well after the minimum age, nor have many of DC's friends. Many of my students don't seem to have any urgency about driving (with the exception of those eager to go out on senior year internships, which require personal transportation means).

    Likewise, while DC has long been described as unusually mature, early on (K-3 grade age), DC actually was described as unusually immature in behavior. Curiously, this was where being young for grade was interpreted generously. One teacher in fifth grade (two years young for grade) commented to me that sometimes immature behaviors were observed, but then she would remind herself that this was expected--and thus not problematic--because of DC's actual age. Which speaks to how critical the adult response to acceleration is. The same behavior could easily have been interpreted by a different teacher as "proof" that acceleration was inappropriate and potentially harmful to social development. In this case, I think our child also picked up some not-wholly-deserved benefit of the doubt, as DC has also consistently ticked many of the boxes for ADHD (formally undiagnosed). (It does help that this placement was the result of a school-initiated simultaneous whole-grade skip with additional SSA, with the backing of the school administrator.)

    We also avoided much of the potential for social asynchrony in the high school years by homeschooling from 8th grade on, during the most awkward tween and early teen years. By the time DC was back in classrooms, it was as a DE student in university, at a point in physical development where some people might have wondered, but most would not assume an age difference, but also at a point in social development and confidence that DC could be upfront about being younger, and still move easily in the group as a peer, and even a leader. Late in high school, DC chose to undo one of the early skips, but then ended up taking a full schedule of DE college courses senior year. Which also points out the value for some learners of using DE as a way of addressing academic challenge without fully accelerating nominal grade placement, as this is an option that is available to any student in our state. (So much so that there is a dedicated office in admissions at the small state 4-year where much of this took place for us, with dozens of enrolled students showing up at the DE orientation & registration sessions.)
    _________________________
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