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Gap Year before high school

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Replies to: Gap Year before high school

  • MassmommMassmomm 3842 replies79 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,921 Senior Member
    I moved numerous times as a child; we have moved our children several times. By far, the easiest moves were in the middle of the school year. You have an instant peer group and instant structure.There is no way I'd let my kids take a year off from school to work on a sport.

    The only alternative I can see is to send your child to a year-round sports academy that also provides an academic education. I know one family who did this for their champion skier. The education bit was rather sketchy, but he did continue to excel at skiing.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1898 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,923 Senior Member
    edited May 21
    OP - if you are talking about your S potentially playing D1 hockey (where repeating/reclassifying is relatively common), you might post anew in the athletic recruiting thread.
    edited May 21
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  • LindagafLindagaf 8973 replies485 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,458 Senior Member
    Hogwarts? That’s really pushing it.
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  • MusakParentMusakParent 946 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 955 Member
    Some of the assumptions on this board about homeschooling and unschooling just aren't accurate in our experience either. I've homeschooled since my current senior was a 2nd grader. I've counseled many a middle school parent through an unschooly year or 2 with academic kids that were struggling in B&M school that needed a change or reset for one reason or another with positive results. My kids had very unschooly educational approaches until high school. My oldest is graduating with 32 DE credits with a 4.0 with a 99% ACT score. He's out engaging with peers pretty much every day in one way or another.

    With a library card, a couple museum memberships, a math curriculum, and community engagement via sports, volunteering, music, extracurriulars a young teen could potentially have a really enriching and empowering year.

    Some kids would flounder with a gap year after high school and not every family can afford pay to play gap year programs with significant enrichment with college to follow. I just think it's ok to trust that a parent knows their own child and has their best interest at heart. Kids that travel for a short time or homeschool/unschool for a period of time generally do great afterwards in my experience. The kids that might struggle are those that may have been pulled for depression or anxiety, etc and would be struggling in any setting.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6232 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,267 Senior Member
    I'm failing to see where the OP stated they were considering home schooling?

    My friends who successfully home schooled did a ton of work to make sure they knew what they were doing and how to shore up their kids properly. I also know some friends who home schooled in such a disorganized way that there was really no school. None of their kids made it through college before dropping out, and most not even got there at all.

    IMO home schooling is a huge commitment on the part of the parents and isn't a decision to be rushed into because of a move. It's already May. The school year in CA starts in mid to late August. That's not that much time to get organized and develop a plan.

    Playing sports and traveling is not an appropriate substitute for school without a lot more structure and academics.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2709 replies36 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,745 Senior Member
    Why Not? The academics will still be there.
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  • CorralenoCorraleno 141 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    Homeschooling for one year is not a huge commitment. A math textbook and/or online class + lots of reading is fine for what would essentially be a "bonus year" — the student has completed 8th grade and will return to school for 9th. Spending a year abroad is educational in itself, doubly so if it includes immersion in a foreign language. And academics do not need to be highly "structured" in order to be effective.
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  • International DadInternational Dad 279 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 285 Junior Member
    being a brilliant student, I think that repeating 8th grade would make him feel unsuccessful
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  • MWolfMWolf 1226 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,234 Senior Member
    @Corraleno I have not only raised a PG kid, but have engaged in advocacy and in pushing policies for support of gifted kids at the K-8 level. It is your kid who is not typical. PG kids will often follow their own interests, but will generally ignore stuff which does not interest them, even when it is required for graduation.

    Your narrative actually demonstrates that your kid thrives in a structured environment as well, just not in the one provided by the middle school (but middle schools are just to keep the kids off the streets and from killing each other, since nothing else can be accomplished in those years).

    Our HS has an amazing array of courses, which are not available at many high schools, and my kid was taking a heavy load of art classes, and there was no way that we could afford the type of studios that were available at the HS. Being a dancer also meant that a structured environment is required to juggle the fairly time-heavy requirements of that, as well as having a dance troupe where my D could go onstage, as well as choreograph. My D was also engaged in social activism, which also required a school environment - no LGBTQ organization would involve a 14 year old in the type of activity in which my kid involved herself at HS. I don't know whether her creative writing would have blossomed without her amazing sophomore teacher.

    We may have been able to provide any single one of those, but having fully equipped art studios (drawing, painting, silk printing, etc), an active dance troupe with practice space, an LGBTQ advocacy and support group for teenagers, and teenagers who needed support, as well as high level math, writing, etc. While she only has 6 APs, she has independent research (not the AP version), teaching assistance, and world and studio dance.

    At the same time, during the summers, aside from dance intensive programs, she attended CTD's three week animation, coding, neuroscience and creative writing courses with other gifted kids, and she has taken online courses provided by the Davidson institute. Our D has also done crazy stuff like participate in Kenya's first Great Grevy's Rally, sharing a vehicle with the US ambassador one day and spending the next day with a local high school group, and a summer internship at a Neurobiology lab at UIUC, the only HS kid among graduate students and post-docs. That is not including the trips she has made to Israel (she was born a dual citizen), Russia (where she has extensive family), and other places in the world.

    She will be attending an excellent college with a full-tuition scholarship (+ other benefits) for which she was nominated by her public HS. So yes, the list of benefits that a public HS has provided for my PG daughter is very long, and most would not have been available to her had she been home-schooled or gone to a private HS. At the same time, the fact that she was attending a public HS as a full time student did not limit her abilities to explore the world in many ways

    BTW, it is a public HS, in a suburb with a median family income of about $80,000. Not poor, but not Winnetka or Barrington. We are well off, but not super wealthy, and the cost of most of those was not our of pocket.

    So while it is great that your S had all those opportunities and accomplished all those things, attending a public high school does not preclude any of those.

    PS. By "not Hogwarts" you mean "not sending kids into a forest filled with man-eating spiders with an irresponsible adult as a chaperone", "not allowing freshman to play with the equivalent of high explosives and nerve gas during class", "not allowing teenagers to walk around school with deadly weapons", or "not using high school kids as an army against the most powerful wizard and his minions"?
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  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2061 replies208 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,269 Senior Member
    also, on the idea that "repeating" 8th grade would be devastating...I mean, I don't think so...he's going to be halfway across the country with a completely new school and classmates...he'll just be an 8th grader...not a kid "repeating" 8th grade.
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  • turtletimeturtletime 1233 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,245 Senior Member
    Losing all your friends in a move and then not having a ready community in your new area seems a bit isolating. It can also be difficult to go back into a structured learning environment when you’ve not had any academic responsibilities.

    FWIW, our first two California kids were 13 in high school. It was right for them. If it’s not right for your son, that’s fine but I’d opt for repeating 8th in a different type of environment like a project based school or a 50/50 class-homeschool program that can offer him academic flexibility, a good homeschooling community if you’d rather him not be in a school at all, something like that.
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  • csfmapcsfmap 445 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 459 Member
    edited May 22
    I think the three posts by the OP makes it reasonable to assume the issue is about redshirting, not about academics or a “gap” year. Educators don’t support redshirting middle school students for good reason.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wcpo.com/news/insider/sports-first-school-second-why-local-parents-are-holding-their-kids-back-in-6th-7th-8th-grade?_amp=true
    edited May 22
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  • mom2andmom2and 2755 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,772 Senior Member
    edited May 22
    The other issue is that homeschooling for a year is still school. That would not meet the goal of having the student graduate early, unless it was allowed to be counted as repeating a grade.

    Hoping the OP will come back and let us know his/her thoughts.
    edited May 22
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  • CorralenoCorraleno 141 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    edited May 22
    I think the three posts by the OP makes it reasonable to assume the issue is about redshirting, not about academics or a “gap” year. Educators don’t support redshirting middle school students for good reason.
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wcpo.com/news/insider/sports-first-school-second-why-local-parents-are-holding-their-kids-back-in-6th-7th-8th-grade?_amp=true

    That article is about parents holding back kids so they will be a year *older* than other kids in the same grade. The OP's son started K early, so he would be getting a year to catch up with the other kids in his grade, instead of being the youngest as he is now. That article also says that "if a parent thinks that another year of maturity, social adjustment and personal growth will help their child adjust to the world around them, go for it." Lots of parents who start their kids in school a year early later decide that wasn't the best choice and want to "undo" it. That's very different from holding a child back just so he'll be bigger and stronger and older than everyone else in the same grade.
    edited May 22
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  • turtletimeturtletime 1233 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,245 Senior Member
    @csfmap I get what you are saying but it’s not the best article... not that I have a better one. Retention is not as overall successful as society likes to believe and acceleration is a great deal more successful than social commentary suggests. This particular situation is a little wonky in that it seems to be largely about improving sports opportunities and helping a hid transition during a move. Not the route I’d take but I’m not sure we can look at it as a typical retention.
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  • MusakParentMusakParent 946 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 955 Member
    The thing is a year of free learning for a gifted kid CAN be acceleration. If he does a standardized test toward end of that year, he may be in a good position to place into higher class levels in high school. High schoolers in most academic situations are on a variety of paths. Maybe dual enrollment can be a good fit later on. In no way do I think this is a choice to hold this kid back academically which I think is the default view by those who've used very lockstep academic choices for their kids.

    Unorthodox educational choices have worked very well for my mostly homeschooled GT kids. My oldest first hit algebra 1 in 5th grade. He is launching to college at age 18 in the fall after dual enrolling for 2 years. I tend to trust gut instincts that parents have about right path for their kids in this regard. We live quite near a large university and I know a number of families that took their kids for a year on a professor's sabbatical and their kids all have done great. Smart families, smart successful kids. I don't get the feeling the OP was going to lock her kid in the basement with video games.
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  • csfmapcsfmap 445 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 459 Member
    I agree it’s not the best article. I linked it to explain my use of the term redshirting outside the context of college athletes. The article also points out some of the problems with holding a student back.

    The OP only posted three times, (OP, #8, #11) so there is a lot of conjecture, and I could certainly be wrong, but this is why I believe it is about redshirting.

    From what the OP said we know she has a 13 year old 8th grader and they are moving to California in summer or fall (OP). She said he is very smart and doing well academically, including exceptionally well in math where he’s performing at the high school level. He’s in a sport where he is competing at a level higher than high-school varsity and he is physically small (#8). She made no mention of immaturity, difficulty making friends, any social-emotional issues or personal growth needs. She made no mention of an academic plan other than maybe going to another country to learn a language. The other plan was enrolling him in a sports academy day program.

    She gives too main reasons for wanting him to take a year off. She doesn’t want to transfer him mid-year and she wants to increase his chances of playing D1 in college (#8).

    Here is where conjecture starts. I don’t think transferring mid-year is her primary concern because they might move in the summer, she would be comfortable sending him to another country and she would be willing to transfer him mid-year to attend eighth grade. In post #11 she says what she really wants is for him to repeat 8th grade, but he can’t because California won’t allow it. Since he can’t repeat 8th grade, her alternative is to have him take a year off before 9th grade. That leaves sports as the driving factor and that fits the term redshirting in middle school. Redshirting isn't just about older, bigger, and stronger, it’s also about an additional year to improve skills and performance in the sport.

    An aside, it would cost California tax payers ~$11,500 to pay for a student to repeat a grade.
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