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Gap Year before high school

lovemidwestlovemidwest 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited June 9 in Parents Forum
I have a 13 year boy who is youngest in his grade (8th), class of 2023. We lives in Midwest. My husband got a new job in California. Probably we should move in coming summer or fall during school years. For several reasons (moving time, age, travel, focus on sports), we would like to have him take a gap year (2019-2020), start 9th in 2020-2021,class of 2024 in cali.

Is there any expected issues or problems? Do I need to let the new and old school district know?

Any general comments help me!
edited June 9
141 replies
Post edited by Chedva on
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Replies to: Gap Year before high school

  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2944 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why wouldn't he just repeat 8th grade? Does he have health issues or plans other than sitting home for a gap year? Cali had a late school starting date, you may wish to check and see if he would be considered young for grade there.
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  • blossomblossom 9824 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Wis- some kids need the delay and some kids need to repeat a year. It's not always a bad idea, as your post suggests.

    We don't know enough about the OP's kid to help in this situation though. If the only motivation is to adjust the age differential, or to make sure the kid is bigger and stronger than his teammates in HS sports, it's likely a bad idea. If there is something cognitive/psychiatric/medical going on- that's something else.

    I know kids who have moved ahead, kept behind, moved behind, etc. and sometimes it's the right solution. But OP needs to share a lot of more detail for us to conclude that this would be one of those situations.

    And what does a kid do during a year off? Too young to work, too young to drive, is there a parent prepared to home school????
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6706 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Do you have the time, space and ability to make the year full of adventure and non-classroom learning, with enough structure that that he isn't left on his own for extended periods of time to entertain himself as he sees fit? Is there an active homeschool group that he could do another "8th" grade in? Does *he* think that this is a good plan? Is school an area in which he generally excels? Is he ambitious?

    I am not as reflexively opposed as some, but I think it is harder to do - especially for a whole year- that it might seem. I have moved kids at pretty much every level of schooling. Every move is tough in its own way, but just saying 'too hard / we'll sort it out next year' isn't a plan. And getting back into the rhythm of school is hard.

    The being young thing is real thing, but your son will be 14 in grade 9, which is very typical.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2944 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    School is where kids normally find their friends. Most people I know who move enroll in school right away so their child finds friends among his classmates.
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  • menloparkmommenloparkmom 12466 replies540 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 20
    @lovemidwest
    your son should stay in school, regardless of whether he repeats a grade or not.
    to take him out of school for a YEAR, because it MAY make the transition from the midwest to Calif "easier", is a TERRIBLE idea. that decision may have unintended long term consequences for him.
    The best thing for him is to be enrolled in school, regardless of when he arrives, so he can start to meet new friends here in Calif..Sitting out a year, while he does nothing, will not help him and will also cause him to forget some / much of what he has already learned in school. Dont do it!

    My DS was also the youngest male in his class, as well as one of the smartest, all through HS. The time to have held him back, for age purposes alone, would have been in the first grade, but he was reading at the 5th grade level by then.

    What Calif city are you moving to?? you need to check on the ability to have your DS enrolled in the local public school district when you arrive, as some schools have limited openings for new students.
    edited May 20
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  • lovemidwestlovemidwest 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    He was tiny but a amazingly smart kid. so we sent him a kindergarten 1year earlier. Still he is tiny and smart. Academically no problem at all. He is taking high school math (honor) and he is the 1st in math in state.
    The main reason that we want him have a gap year
    1. I don't want to transfer him during the school year. 2. He is doing a sport more than varsity's levels : He really wants to go D1, Based on his current rank, he can go D3 but impossible D1. If he goes with class of 2024 instead 2023, he will have high possibility to go D1 (I know nobody knows)
    So during a gap year, we are planning to attend him a sports academy day program or send him another country to learn language, if possible.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2944 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Just giving you notice that in many sports, play is determined by birth date not class. So some senior boys were not allowed to compete in certain sports at our school, as they had been held and aged out.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9232 replies495 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 20
    I’m in the “very bad idea” camp. Starting ninth grade at a new school, so that he doesn’t have a big lapse in his education, is far better than him spending a year on his own with no friends in a new place. Sports? That really should NOT be a consideration.

    Then, there’s the law: https://lao.ca.gov/2004/compulsory_ed/020304_compulsory_education_laws.htm
    I am skeptical that any of your rationales fit the criteria for him not being educated.

    My D was one of the youngest in her grade. No issues. My friend’s son is youngest in his year. Was a NMS semi finalist, runs track, has a girlfriend. Kids do not care. It seems that you care though.

    ETA: @lovemidwest there is NO guarantee that holding him back a year, should you find a legal reason to do so, is going to get him into a D1 college. Then, you’re considering sending him abroad to learn a FL? How is he going to maintain his beyond-varsity level sport, away from his family and support system?

    I get the impression you are foreign and perhaps don’t understand how D1 athletic recruiting and college admissions work in America, but I think there are some serious flaws in your logic. Unless he is playing at a professional level already and being privately tutored, as some young athletes do, your plan seems very poorly thought out.
    edited May 20
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  • lovemidwestlovemidwest 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    First time, I would like to repeat 8th grade. I have look into a school district website. In Calif public school, they don't allow repeat the grades. So I think about our alternative way could be a gap year.
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33094 replies3779 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    California's compulsory education laws require children between six and eighteen years of age to attend school, with a limited number of specified exceptions
    https://lao.ca.gov/2004/compulsory_ed/020304_compulsory_education_laws.htm
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6706 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 20
    If he is already doing HS level work repeating 8th grade could be soul-destroying.

    Send him to a sports academy over the summer & let him start grade 9 in his new city.

    And in the #justsayin category: his body may have surprises of its own for the both of you. I know a fair few aspiring athletes for whom the years 13-15 dealt some tough blows for their prospects in the sport that they had built their life around.
    edited May 20
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  • thumper1thumper1 74785 replies3278 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Send him to school next year. I’m quite sure you could find a private school where he could do 8th grade again.

    But...why? For sports recruiting for college? You have no idea if this will work out or not. He could get injured or quit the sport.

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  • mom2andmom2and 2867 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is probably difficult at this point to have him graduate in 2024 instead of 2023 without repeating a grade. The other option would be to have him complete high school on time and then do a "post-grad year" at a private school for his sport. Or do a gap year then. Even if he goes to a sports academy, that would likely count as an academic year.

    I know one kid that transferred from public HS to boarding school after his sophomore year of HS. They chose to have him repeat 10th grade. He grew late so it helped him in that regard, but he ended up at a D3 school and probably could have played even if he had stayed in public school or did not repeat the grade. He was not happy at having another year of HS when all his childhood friends were moving on to college.
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 823 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    You could pull him to homeschool and have him repeat 8th grade at home, but moving onto more challenging material than he does currently. Then you could put him in public school the following year. Though they’ll see his record that there are two eight grades, they’d still put him at ninth grade. Colleges will never see his middle school record or know he did 8th grade twice. It does not sound like he will be properly challenged academically doing this though, especially once back in public school since he’s already so advanced.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1428 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why do you want your son to play D1 sports? Is it to pay for school? If it is, do you know how equivalency scholarships work? I highly doubt that your son is in a headcount sport (football and basketball based on your description (tiny). Also, you would never send someone gifted in those sports outside the country to learn a FL. If he really needs a year to maybe make a D1 team, that likely puts him in 0%-25% range. So, if you hold him back a year, you MAY get a 25% scholarship. YMMV.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8930 replies334 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You can't do gap years in high school. You'd have to repeat a grade (either in public school, a private one, or by homeschooling). What does your son think about repeating a grade?
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  • MusakParentMusakParent 1002 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I know people who've made unconventional educational choices to bump back an early kindergarten start or grade skip at this age. Honestly, I think it's a great idea. I have a kid that tested as profoundly gifted in kindergarten and we made unorthodox educational decisions throughout to keep him at grade level (old for grade) and it was the best idea for him. Being academically precocious does not equate to guaranteed ready to launch to a college experience a year early. High schoolers graduate with a huge range of ability and knowledge and education. You can always keep a kid learning. My kid dual enrolled in 11th and 12th grade.

    I guess I wouldn't let him flounder a year though. I'd have him repeat 8th in a different setting. Maybe a project based school or somewhere more out of the box. Or homeschool for a year and get him engaged in a bunch of extra curricular. I have homeschooled teens. You are welcome to PM me if you think that might be a good option and you have questions on how that looked at our house at that age.
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