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Advice for Middle/Junior High

ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 348 Member
Bear with me, this may be a bit long winded. (Also, not sure where to put this. Please move it if necessary.)

Ok, so we're moving this summer. Looks like earlier than we expected, so YAAAAY!! I'm thrilled!!
Nothing is definite yet, but the schools we are looking at for our 11 yr old are VASTLY better than what he's currently attending. Also, he's very young for the grade he's currently in (he was 4 yrs old in K). He's the youngest in his grade in the school and his peers are generally 9-16 months older than him. Furthermore, if we had been living in this new school district when he was beginning Kinder, he would've had to wait a year. He would not have been eligible. So we know he will be a year ahead of where he's "supposed" to be in the new school.

With those two issues we've decided we'd like him to repeat his current grade at the new school next year. Our son is on board, and had the honesty to realize his academics have suffered (slightly, still getting all As/Bs) b/c he's trying entirely too hard to fit in socially with kids who are older. It wasn't until this year that it became apparent the maturity difference b/w an 11 and a half year old, and a nearly 13 yr old!

So, how do we approach this with the new school? Do we just say "this is what we want" and hope for the best? Or has anyone had a similar situation that worked out in their favor?

Thanks :)

Replies to: Advice for Middle/Junior High

  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 Registered User Posts: 1,082 Senior Member
    I know someone who did this for the same reasons. Yes, they just said that "Susie" is young for her grade and would like for her to repeat the grade to give her more maturity and a stronger foundation. There was also an overlap where the grade she repeated happened to be the last in elementary for her former school but the first in middle for her new school. Incidentally, she's now in high school and is both socially and academically fine. I'm not sure how many of her classmates even know she repeated a grade.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 837 Member
    I know a number of families who made a change like this after starting a kid in K young or doing an early grade skip. The schools never had an issue with it. I have a similar kid we ended up homeschooling at his own pace. In fact I know people who did this without moving. Just pulling a kid from one school, bumping back a grade and starting in another school across town or whatever. I think it can be a great choice at this stage when a GT kid will likely have more options at the high school level but choosing to launch a young kid to college is a big decision.

    So I hope you have great luck and your new school is super receptive! I would be surprised if a school would give you flack for a kid who is young for grade.
  • MmeZeeZeeMmeZeeZee Registered User Posts: 563 Member
    In our schools, you would not necessarily have to tell them. They don't require previous school information, just vaccination records, proof of residence and birth certificate or other age ID. I would be honest if needed, but there's a chance you won't even need to provide the information given that you're moving before high school.

    Good luck to you and your son!
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 348 Member
    Thanks all. Hopefully it's as easy as all that!
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,631 Senior Member
    edited March 15
    Are you really planning on what is best for your child? My gifted son started kindergarten before his 5th birthday and was accelerated in elementary school. Gifted kids are not a good fit- part of being gifted so being with agemates instead of continuing at grade level may just lead to more boredom, regardless of the school system. It may also matter if your son is tall or short. Plus- if starting middle school it is likely most students will be facing a new building and different kids in their classes.

    I would try to discuss matters this spring (before schools shut down for summer) with school guidance counselors in the new location. Each child is different and I know my son was atypical- he loved being with the first graders the last part of kindergarten and we were lucky to get him in a multigrade class the next year as he wasn't ready for second grade but could be with the third grade readers (far behind his level). The official grade changed when he did 4th grade work as a third grader (and had a 4th grade best friend)- his classmates were thrilled for him on the last day when someone saw the line on his report card about next year's grade.

    However, your son may be relieved to be able to start with younger kids than he has been trying to keep up with. Do be sure to contact the gifted and talented coordinator in the new district for appropriate placement in accordance with his ability. You do not want him randomly placed in average classes if he can be with agemates closer in ability. After son's elementary school experience (tested before early kindergarten entrance plus grade advancement initiated by the school) I had a conference with the middle school personnel- principal, GT person, guidance counselor. Son not involved. They made sure he got the most appropriate teachers et al- avoided the worst teachers (per school's insider knowledge) and likely less bored. A lot can be tweaked among the adults.

    Looks like good timing for your move. By the time he starts HS he will be familiar with things and a known student for making HS class decisions.

    So much easier having a kid who fits into the huge part of that Bell curve.
  • turtletimeturtletime Registered User Posts: 1,211 Senior Member
    If he’s getting A’s and B’s then he seems appropriately placed. Middle school is a notoriously difficult social time for all kids. I wouldn’t gauge social success on middle school. Plus, being retained is no promise of connection... and then add repetitive work below ability level. It’s just a choice that is difficult to undo.

    Our first two were both young for grade and wouldn’t change a thing. It sounds like your son is on board and it’s what you want. I wish you luck with it.
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 348 Member
    We've looked over the curriculum in the new district and compared it to this one. He's not getting information here that he would be getting there. Here he's an over achiever, there he would be just another bright kid in a crowd of bright kids.

    So far he has blended in well physically b/c he's tall for his age. His Dr. thinks he will probably be about 6 ft 4 to 6 ft 6 by the time he's done growing.

    It's hard to quantify where he is academically b/c he hasn't taken any standardized tests in a year. However I do have a very recent Lexile. He has a 1230, if that's any help?
  • evergreen5evergreen5 Registered User Posts: 1,307 Senior Member
    I would want to make certain he's placed appropriately for math, as middle school math placement affects the high school math sequence. I would have him briefly review his current knowledge of math prior to taking any placement test.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,604 Senior Member
    Changing schools is a very easy way to repeat a grade and gets rid of all the stigma unless you go around advertising the fact. I agree that if he's an A student in math, you may want to keep him on the same math track. I turned 5 in September when I started first grade in a school system where that was the norm, so I ended up being at least a year younger than most of my classmates. It never bothered me a bit, but I suspect attended an all girls high school meant there was less social pressure.
  • SJ2727SJ2727 Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    @ChaosParent23 , I would talk to the school. If the school district you’re moving to is good, which it sounds like, they should be able to do a decent assessment on where your kid should go. We had a similar issue when we moved to the US, with a child who started a year young and to complicate matters further on a different school calendar, and we had to figure out where she would be appropriate (on age she was K, on academics she’d have been in second grade! They placed her in first). Ours is also effectively very young for her grade (she would have missed the cutoff by a month if she’d started here, but also a bunch of kiddos in her year have parents who read too much Malcolm Gladwell and started their kids late, so there is a really big age difference with some kids.) She’s super bright, very tall and has been ok socially, with the age gap effect lessening as she’s grown older, so it’s worked for her, but each kid is different. Even if your kid would be repeating some stuff that could be ok with him also getting used to a new town and kids and just middle school being more responsible, so if staying back a year works for him then go for it.

    We had a middle school intro last week and they were very adamant that middle school math placement is not the only determining factor for high school math, btw. They have had problems from parents insisting kids who are not ready go into the accelerated track, causing problems both for the kids affected and the rest of the class. I agree kids should be in the appropriate math stream, but that should be what works for them now to keep them engaged and successful in math. There are a number of ways kids can catch up in high school if they are smart but late bloomers.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,773 Forum Champion
    Another aspect of them not being young for their grade is if he plays sports in HS...and HE WILL BE ABLE TO DRIVE for two years in HS instead of one...you don't know how great that is when they have all of these activities and you don't have to be the taxi driver.
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 348 Member
    If he continues on his current track, he will not be able to drive until he's a Senior in HS. And yes he's an athlete, which is another concern. Far less so, b/c we value academics more, but still... it's a thought in the back of our heads.

    My S19 was able to drive 2nd semester Soph year and it was SUCH a relief!!! I feel like a terrible parent saying that, but man it's true!!
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 348 Member
    @SJ2727 You very eloquently wrote everything in my head right now. I think there will be some overlap in curriculum, but it looks like there's a good bit of new stuff that he hasn't had. It's the gaps I worry about the most.
  • SJ2727SJ2727 Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    edited March 15
    @ChaosParent23 ...not all kids drive as soon as they can. My D19 didn’t get her license till the beginning of senior year...she just didn’t want to. Then one day she announced she was ready.

    (Also I didn’t think my previous post was very eloquent at all, so thanks!)
  • txstellatxstella Registered User Posts: 942 Member
    In our public schools, many of the boys are held back. So my late May birthday son is one of the youngest in his grade. There are many boys a year older or even more in his classes. He was among the last of his friends to drive and he is the “correct” age for his grade. My son has always been very happy socially so I don’t regret not holding him back. But there were times in grade school when the age difference was difficult for him because of classroom expectations.

    My point is that if your son repeats a grade in his new school, he still might be among the younger kids in his grade, I’d ask the school if boys are routinely held back. If so, then having your son repeat might be best.
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