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    #153531 04/15/13 01:29 PM
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    Just thinking about next year and wondering if our son should skip first grade.

    What would warrant a full skip? Completion of an end-of-the-year test for first grade at the beginning of first? Is it okay to ask for that?

    What if a child's handwriting is only early first grade quality? Would you still ask for a skip?

    Today the charter school in which we're hoping our son will be admitted draws their lottery choices. I'm on pins-and-needles waiting to hear from them, and want to go into this upfront about what I'd like to see for him, should he be chosen.


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    If the handwriting is legible, I say it's no reason to hold back. I always got criticism of my handwriting, all the way up to and including high school. It wasn't pretty, but it could be read. It didn't impact my performance or grades at all. It's not that I was incapable of writing neater... it just slowed me down too much, and was more bother than it was worth.

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    Sounds like your son is in a good place with handwriting.

    DS will be skipping 2nd despite his handwriting which is close to beginning of 1st grade quality. It is also slow, and he tends to limit the amount of content.

    In the long run trying to get instruction somewhat closer to his achievement level in reading & math seems much more important than some fine motor delays.

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    I've kind of always gone with the subjective, "can't get needs even close to met without the skip," as the test for skipping. Of course, we also went for having the school fill out the Iowa Acceleration Scale ;-). Have you had the IAS filled out for your ds yet and do you have IQ scores?

    I really do think that early elementary is a very hard place for gifted kids as the options for acceleration are so limited. My dd skipped right at the end of elementary so I was less worried about long-term and whether she would still need the skip into middle school and high school as she was skipping to start middle school early and definitely needed it at that point (and still).

    I guess that, in your case, b/c you're so early in elementary, I'd want a few things:

    1) definitely the IAS showing him to be an excellent candidate
    2) recent IQ scores over a group test (I haven't looked at your prior posts, so I don't know what type of testing you have as of yet)
    3) some idea as to what the GT/accelerated programming looks like in your district and schools as he gets further into school and your best guess as to whether the type of programming they offer might serve his needs at all when he reaches that point

    I might also talk to the GT coordinator if you have one who is reasonably familiar with your ds and get his/her feel for how different your ds is from other GT students s/he has seen over the years. In hindsight, even back to earlier elementary, one clue that we had that dd was not going to get her needs met in GT pull out programs, etc. was that pretty much every GT teacher and coordinator who had her in class was telling me that she was one of the most gifted kids they had ever taught and some of these people had taught hundreds of kids or more over the years. If you're getting feedback like that that makes it clear that your ds is never going to be the "typical" GT student in your district, a skip very well may be warranted.

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    I like Cricket2's advice.

    My personal experience was that DD started 1st (skipped) with poor handwriting and we have no regrets at all. Handwriting was what we focused on at home for the year - 10 mins a day (before school) we worked on handwriting and despite a diagnosed handwriting disability that is likely to have lifelong effects she is now above average for grade in handwriting (speed and neatness). She's not ever going to be able to write volumes, so we are working on typing too, but our efforts at home were totally worthwhile.

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    I found this thread about grade skipping after checking into the Iowa Acceleration Scale. (Thanks, Cricket2!) After reading the stories, especially Aiden's, the most like our son, I've come to the conclusion that a grade skip is likely for the best. I could have replaced Aiden's name with our son's when his accomplishments were described at the end of his Kindergarten year. smile

    We'll have our son tested this summer by a psychologist familiar with gifted children and go from there.

    We've yet to hear from the charter school. It could be as late as next week.







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    That's encouraging. I'm glad that handwriting isn't a deciding factor.

    DS' handwriting has improved over the last year, but we still think he needs tutoring. That's why I asked about Sylvan earlier.

    Last edited by Ametrine; 04/16/13 01:48 PM. Reason: url snarl
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    I wouldn't stress over the handwriting - as the parent of a dysgraphic child, I have two pieces of advice re handwriting: first, even if his handwriting is hugely behind grade level, you don't want to hold him back, he still needs to be where his *brain* is ready to be. Second, I'm guessing that if you looked around, you might find the quality of handwriting one grade level up really isn't all that great smile We actually had a bit of a tough time arguing that our dysgraphic ds with illegible handwriting had any kind of a challenge in 2nd/3rd grade because, well, the writing samples from most of the neurotypical kids weren't all that legible either at that point in time smile

    Re is a grade skip the right thing at this time, I like Cricket's advice. I'd also add that the decision is going to be somewhat school dependent too - we've found that once we hit middle school we were able to find a school that met our ds' needs and allowed him to stay at grade level, which is what our ds wanted. Elementary school wasn't perfect (or even "great" but I don't think that it hurt our ds in the long term to not grade-skip). It was also helpful to look at decisions like this once our ds was old enough that he could give us his input.

    That said, if we'd felt it was necessary to grade-skip when he was younger, we would have done it with no hesitations.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear


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    Might be worth checking with your school to see if they have specific rules, too. At DD's school, they have to be two full grade levels advanced in all subjects to be permitted testing for a grade skip, which could still be denied. We're trying to decide about this now, but suspect that, with such stringent criteria, this means that we'll be met with a lot of opposition. So, a rising 1st grader would have to be working on a grade 3 level to be considered for a skip to grade 2. That's not just her school; that's district-wide.

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    Depends on your school so check the official policy. Early elementary is trickier. For our school and really district-wide since the central office has to approve the acceleration requested by the principal, the student has to test two or more years ahead. DS requested math acceleration in 2nd grade and was tested with 2nd through 5th grade tests plus an abilities typed test created by the district office.

    Handwriting was one of several considerations that led me in favor of math acceleration but against a whole-grade acceleration. Handwriting should be considered but not necessarily a deal-breaker.

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