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Short answers for why our children are grade accelerated

by Carolyn K. director, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page

Also read Snappy Comebacks for grade accelerated children for the kids...

Q. When good friends ask about our child's grade acceleration, we tell them the whole story - academic and social reasons, nearly 100 years of research, etc. But what quick answer can I give the casual friend or acquaintance who asks, to head off the standard 'social issues' and 'a friend of a friend had a bad experience' conversation?

A. There really is no 'short answer' to this question. We, as parents, didn't make the grade acceleration decision in a short time, nor with any short input. But sometimes it is easier to have a simple answer that most people can understand, an answer that quickly addresses their serious concerns about the decision you made for your child. Here are a few answers from parents who have 'been there, done that.'

We are no longer using the term "skipping" a grade or "accelerated," We now say he "tested out" of a grade.  Somehow, to kids (and some parents) the word "skipping" sounds like we got away with something, and some are envious. When we say "tested out" the kids tend to shudder and pity someone who had take such tests, and the parents seem to understand that it was not just some lark or parental pushiness that caused it to happen, but that it was somehow "official". Just semantics, I know, but I sure wish I had thought of it years ago.

So if she gets asked, "are you the girl that skipped?"  "No, I tested out."

I hope it helps you like it has us!

For us, we've got an easy answer: A.'s first skip (from pre-k to K after three weeks) was purely for social reasons. As the teachers pointed out at the time, she fits much better socially with the older kids, and "academics won't be an issue." They were right.

What I do for questions that pertain to R. skipping K, is tell folks that last year, because she really wants the social interaction, she spent far too much time teaching kids what she already knew, just because she'd rather do things (even those she already knew) WITH friends than learn new things ALONE. Next year, I want her to be able to have the social interaction in the context of learning new things, not teaching old things, and there's only one way to do that.

That usually makes it pretty clear, and people understand that pretty well. At least, it has quieted most of them that might have proceeded to tell me what was wrong with my choice, or would not every have understood why I made the choice to skip.

Good luck. Grade acceleration isn't an easy choice. Explaining your decision to friends and relatives isn't always easy either. Whatever you say, whatever they say, remember that only you are ultimately responsible for your child - for his education, for his happiness, for his future! You made the best choice for your child, in your situation, at this time. And that is being the best parent that you can.

Last updated December 01, 2020

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