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I'm interested in whether any of you have had first-hand experience at the elementary level in BUSD, ideally in the Central Zone schools, around the topic of acceleration/grade skipping. We're looking to move into BUSD and would love to hear about whether a specific principal has been particularly amenable or resistant to the idea, what your experience with the process was like, etc. Please note: I do not come to this question lightly and politely request that you not offer general advice or opinions about the relative merits of skipping a grade if you do not have first-hand experience. Thank you! Gathering Info
She has a fall birthday, and (for social/emotional reasons) we waited until she was almost 6 to start her in kindergarten. After a week or so of school, her teacher called to suggest that we consider moving her into first grade because she was very advanced academically. The teacher had had other teachers/staff (including the current-but-then-new principal) look at my daughter's work. When we agreed to try it out, my daughter went for a few hours a day for a few days to a first-grade classroom. After a week or so we all agreed that the move to first grade would be a good thing. The whole process felt thoughtful, well-done and (mostly) well-managed.
Our efforts since then to get her ''accelerated,'' at both BAM and now at King middle school, have not been successful. She's done very well, however, and overall we've been very happy with the BUSD schools. Feel free to email. Robin
We are thinking of skipping our Kindergarten son past first grade and into the second grade this Fall. He is not only bright but physically and socially mature. This move was suggested by his current K teacher, though we had long considered it. I am just curious if any one has had any recent experience advancing or not advancing their children and how this has worked out for them. We are in the Berkeley Unified School district. Thanks...
One thing to consider are the consequences LONG down the road. For example, many younger boys have trouble in high school, when they are required to do higher level math thinking, for example, and that part of their brain simply has not developed yet. It is not a case of immaturity or smarts, but rather, of biological brain development.
The other thing to consider is if you want your son graduating high school at 16 or 17. For many kids--boys especially--college at that age is very difficult.
Our son skipped a grade, and was fine through school, but I wish someone had warned us about high school, and what it is like for a very young boy, especially these days, when parents start their kids in kindergarten sometimes a year late! How will your son do, being peers with boys in his class who might be three years older? Lots to consider besides brains
It's too easy for a child to think later on that he or she is just not talented at certain things (sports, math, physics) simply because s/he is physiologically less mature than their peers, and then you lose out on a whole world of possibility. Socially, if you skip your son it's less likely that he'll be able to experience being a leader and more likely that he'll end up a sidekick or on the periphery.
The other thing is that a lot of the other kids will start catching up to your son academically by second or third grade. My son did not read at the beginning of first grade, for example, but could read at a third grade level by the end of the year. So for now your son can have the gift of total self- confidence and by second or third grade there will be many more kids at his level to challenge him.
Back when I was in elementary school, kids were skipped a lot. There were four kids in my family. I skipped, my sister skipped, my brother skipped, and when it came time for the fourth to skip we all said to my parents, please don't do it. So the youngest did not. Everyone succeeded academically. We all went to Harvard or Princeton. But my youngest sister was the one who had the deepest self-confidence for the longest time. From the outside, I think that it always looked like skipping had been a good idea for the rest of us -- we always had friends, and we were still always among the best students in the class. BUT I had such unbelievable self confidence before I skipped, and after I skipped I always felt as though I were playing catch up. I was very flexible and adaptable and I really valued that, but for years I wanted to rejoin my original class. I'm sure I would have lost that total self confidence later on, but I wish it could have been preserved a few years more. Life is not a controlled experiment, but to be honest, if it were, I would love to know how the me who did not skip a grade turned out. When I meet other people who skipped I find it is always a bond because they had similar experiences. It was the first time that they questioned their natural place in the order of things. concerned mom
Remember, you can always have him take a year off later. It's really easy to go back a year... but almost impossible to skip ahead. If the teacher says it's a good idea, I'd go for it.
A friend of ours had a son who was really headed down the wrong path in first grade... getting into trouble, vandalizing the school, etc. When they finally realized the problem was that he was bored for seven straight hours in school, they skipped him up a grade. The new teacher said that the boy became an ''ideal student, a role model'' for the other boys in third grade. All it took to improve his behavior was to make sure he was challenged academically.
This is not an isolated case. Often ''immature'' behavior is caused by kids being bored out of their minds in an inappropriate academic setting, and studies have shown that social development is often improved by placing kids appropriately. All children develop at different rates; grouping them by chronological age is not necessarily the best way for them to develop emotionally or academically.
Grade skipping is not for everybody, and teachers rarely recommend it around here. But remember, it's always reversible if it doesn't work out.
You can also check out the Iowa Acceleration Manual if you want to be sure it's a good idea for your son. Here's a good web site describing it: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/iowa_accel_scale.htm Good luck!
Jump ahead to fourth grade. Guess what? Every other kid caught up to her, and everything has pretty much evened out. The downside for this girl is she is no longer the brilliant one in the class; she no longer feels academically superior to the other kids, and because her parents never fostered her social skills, the other kids find her socially awkward and a bit weird.
Imagine if her parents had skipped her! She would be in even worse shape. And to the parent who said you can always hold your child back later, that is out of the question. How humiliating would that be, to move ahead, fail, and then be moved back? Kids are extremely aware of where they belong, and to be held back is the most painful thing in the later grades.
Good luck. It is not an easy decision to make. A lifetime to learn--why rush it?
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