Whose Choice Is It? Should Kids Skip a Grade?

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?

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9 Responses to “Whose Choice Is It? Should Kids Skip a Grade?”

  1. Fran April 16, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    I went to 1st and 2nd grade in one year, so I technically didn’t “skip” a grade, but the end effect was the same. In my case though, my best friend from kindergarten and 1st grade did get to go with me. We were both moved to 2nd grade in the middle of our 1st grade year!

    You probably made the right choice by going with how your daughter felt. I was always the smallest kid in class and to make things worse, my birthday is in November and I had started kindergarten when I was still four. When I graduated from high school I was only 16 and almost two years younger than my classmates. Looking back I don’t think it was so bad, but not skipping ahead would have given me time to catch up with my classmates physically as well as mentally and academically. Your daughter truly has an old soul if she understood that already. :-)

  2. Betsy April 18, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I think you made the right choice! It sounds like she made the decision for herself! I was born premature and my doctors recommended against me starting school when I was 5 because I was ‘too small’. I am glad my mom (a special ed teacher) pushed for me to start at the proper time.

  3. nickel April 18, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    I was always the youngest in my class from 6th grade on. I started kindergarten at 4 (bday end of december) and then transferred into the public school system for middle school. I enjoyed being “different” than the other kids but I always felt more comfortable around older people, never kids my age or my grade. I’m also an only child. I wouldn’t trade it or do anything different but now at 26 I’m still ahead of my peers, married at 20, owned a house at 24, etc.

  4. Lashawn April 18, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    I think allowing her to decide was great. It has also been found that a huge number of kids that get skipped end up being left back before they enter HS. I also thing that her acknowledging that she is in no rush was very mature. I hear people in school even college saying “I can’t wait for it to be over”. Education is an experience that we should embrace. Especially while it’s free & even more when your paying.

  5. Kelly V. April 18, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    This is a great story and I wonder what I would do in this situation. I definitely think you did the right thing and she is certainly a smart little girl – you should be a proud mama :)

    Congrats on your very first post and WELCOME to the team!!

  6. Megan Roe April 18, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Wow! What a mature little lady you are raising! Loved this entry – can’t wait to hear more!

  7. Melissa Parlaman April 18, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    cute post, desiree! and she was on Sesame Street?? Awesome :)

  8. Karen Hartzell, Graco April 19, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Your daughter shows her maturity by wanting to still enjoy things and learn at her own pace. Her enthusiasm will prevent her boredom. It may even be a gift to her being able to help others in her class since she is a little ahead of them.

    Great first post, Desiree! So glad you joined the team!


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