My daughter Kalia started Kindergarten last year at 5 years of age like most children do. She couldn’t wait; she was so excited about moving on from pre-k with the “babies” and on to the big building with her older sister.
My mom always said Kalia must have been here on Earth before because of her wisdom and maturity. I knew she was bright and ahead of her pre-k class, but I just assumed that was because she had been home-schooled by her Nanny since she was 3 months old.
While I thought she was smart, Kalia’s Nanny thought she was a genius at close to 1 year of age.
She knew her alphabet and numbers. She could also make the sound of each letter in the alphabet. I thought ALL little kids should know that kind of stuff!
Well her Nanny decided to make a few phone calls to some professionals and sure enough, before Kalia was two years old she was featured on Sesame Street. She got to say a couple of words and help with the alphabets and numbers, which was really fun for her. After that, Nanny went even further to get her IQ tested once she was close to 3 years old. We eventually found out that she wasn’t a genius, but was very smart for a 3 year old and her reading, writing, verbal and social skills were more advanced than other kids her age.
I was just happy to hear my baby was normal.
So now, here we are in Kindergarten. After the first 9 weeks I met with Kalia’s teacher, who actually specializes in teaching gifted children. She informed me that Kalia is ahead of the class and at the rate she is going, by the end of the year we may look for her to skip a grade. Of course I was ecstatic and proud that my baby was doing great in Kindergarten but I really didn’t put much thought into her skipping first grade… until she brought it up again later in the year and let me know the school recommended it.
I told her that I would need to think about it and get back to them.
So of course, I thought about all that I could, the pros and cons. I called friends and did research on children that had skipped grades. I even spoke with her two younger aunts (ages 14 and 18 in 10th grade and a sophomore in college) to get their opinions. I got such a mixed response, so finally I decided to ask my baby. After all, everybody says she is so smart and advanced.
“Kalia, the school thinks you are very smart and bright, they think you are doing so well that you should move on to the 2nd grade!”
“Really?” she said. “Mommy I have a question. If I move to the 2nd grade will my friends in Kindergarten be able to come with me?”
My response was no.
She said, “So I would have to make friends again, plus have more work to do?”
I said yes, baby.
She said, “Well I don’t want to go.”
I asked if she was absolutely sure and she said yes. She said, “Mommy I’m in no rush to finish. I’m just getting started and I’m having fun!”
That was the end of the discussion.
I feel like allowing Kalia to make the decision for herself at such a young age as a single parent was the right decision. We as parents have to remember that they are the ones who have to live their life, and we are here to love, guide and support them. She’s been doing so well in Kindergarten and now she can’t wait for first grade this fall.
What do you think about kids skipping a grade? What choice would you have made?