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Deciding to Skip a Grade

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My social life is at a peak right now, and apparently, so is my intellectuality. The school board wants me to skip a grade, and so do my parents, but now the decision rests on my shoulders. Should I leave all of my friends for older, more sophisticated people where I might stick out like a sore thumb but still achieve a better education, or stay in my grade with all of my friends but receive no real challenges in my work?

A: Listen to your own voice. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. List the pluses of deciding to stay in your grade on one side and the minuses on the other side. Now do the same for a decision to skip a grade. This will begin the process of creative decision making.

There is no such thing as one's "peak" when it comes to intellectual prowess or potential. Not so for one's social life while in school; you know that. Isn't it possible for you to skip a grade and still maintain contacts with your present social group while perhaps expanding your friendship/acquaintance circle a bit with some older students? Also, couldn't you work with your school's teachers and guidance counselor to create a more challenging curriculum? What about some independent study work? This doesn't have to be a black and white decision. Trust your instincts about what "feels" better for you at this age and stage of your personal and school life. I'm sure that you will make the best decision.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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