dapuppies2's picture
dapuppies2

Retention in 3rd grade? any experience

Hi, - new to the community :-)  My husband and I are faced with the decision to retain our 3rd grader.  She made the cut-off by 5 days (I'm kicking myself that I placed her in at that time)   She made the cut-off by 5 days (I'm kicking myself that I placed her in at that time)   She is bright and funny but is socially immature.  This has lead to bullying and very low self esteem.  The school has done everything that they could to correct the situation but the damage was already done.   Any ideas on how to explain to a child that despite her doing fantastic academically she really needs to be in 3rd grade again.  Would switching to a new school ease or worsen the situation?  Thanks so much for you advice



concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Hi,
Welcome to the community!
My youngest son also makes the cut off by 5 days. After going back and forth, we decided to hold him back. He'll be in a pre-k 3 class this fall, even though he'll be turning 4 in late oct. Like you, we feel he's academically ready, but not socially or emotionally ready.
My advice to you wld be to speak to your daughter, and explain the situation and the decision you're faced w/. Make her part of the decision process. I think holding her back is a smart choice, even though it may take some adjusting for all of you. It sounds like you have a good relationship w/ the school your daughter's in now, and that they're willing to work w/ you to help better the situation. Therefore, I think you shld give this school another try (repeating 3rd grade), and see how that goes. However, if your daughter is still having problems, then consider switching schools or maybe even homeschooling if that's an option for you. It's a tough situation b/c we want so badly to protect our children from these things, but unfortunately, the reality is it's out there no matter what we do, and we can't avoid every hurtful situation.
I wld also suggest that maybe you consider counceling for your daughter to help w/ the self-esteem issues. If your daughter can learn to speak up for herself, and fight her own battles at some point, I think others will learn to respect her.
I really hope your situation works itself out. I have an older son (age 4) who has a disability, and I worry about him all the time. You're not in this alone. Best of luck w/ everything.

marianhunt's picture
marianhunt

dapuppies2

I'm am new to the community as well. We are faced with retaining our daughter in the 2nd grade due to dyslexia. I have searched for info on retention and haven't found many positive situations. We are going to retain her but move her to a private school that teaches dyslexic children. (hopefully they can help her adapt and she can rejoin her classmates) It is still hard to wrap my head around it even though academically she needs it! I know my brother was held back in 4th grade and it was devastating for him. That was 30 years ago, so things & views have changed. Ultimately, you & your husband know your daughter better, so you should follow your heart. If she is doing good academically could you transfer to another school and not retain? Why is she being bullied? How has the school handled? I understand how difficult a decision this is!! Hopefully, we both make the right decision!
Good luck!

2GR8KIDS's picture
2GR8KIDS

Hi -

Unfortunately, I don't have any advice to give on this - I've been looking for some myself. I am in the exact same situation, although my daughter is currently in the 2nd grade. Every time I have brought up the posibility of retention with the school, they say it is really not a good idea and bring up the statistics about the self esteem issue for children who have been retained. I am not sure which would be worse, being retained (and hopefully having more succes socially) or continuing on with the grade being socially ostracized.

The school year is nearing the end and decisions will need to be made. It is a tough choice to make.

ktorres's picture
ktorres

Hi. My 4th grade daughter is also young for her grade - made the age cut off, but in an area where most people hold their kids back before starting kindergarten. So she is typically up to a year younger than her classmates. Her kindergarten teacher suggested a second year of K because she seemed socially less sure of herself compared to the other kids, despite being academically stronger than most. We sent her on to 1st grade because we felt holding her back would cause her self-esteem to fall even further. She had a great 1st grade teacher who respected the different personalities of all the kids, including the shy ones (like my daughter), and she has steadily gained confidence each year since then. I believe we did the right thing. Remember, kids develop at varying rates, and have different family dynamics that influence their behavior (e.g., a child with an older sibling may act older). Your daughter could just be a late-bloomer, especially since you say she's bright and funny.

I shoud add that I now have twins in 1st grade, and one of their classmates just turned 8. One might think he is the most socially mature kid in the bunch, but the opposite is true! Often times older kids find the "lowest common denominator" in terms of behavior in an attempt to fit in. On the other hand, it's possible for younger kids like my daughter to find their niche with a couple of close friends, gaining confidence while continuing to excel in academics.

Ask yourself how likely another year of 3rd grade will achieve the objectives of improving your daughter's self-esteem and eliminating the bullying. The opposite could end up happening, with kids teasing her for having to repeat and her feeling self-conscious about it. On the other hand, are there alternatives to repeating that would achieve your goals? Your daughter has every right to move on to 4th grade: she is bright, and presumably can handle the school work. The trick is to help her feel good about that. Perhaps your daughter's teacher expects more from her because other children in the class were held back and are older. That's unfair and should be discussed with the teacher, because she is age-eligible. Also, no child should have to accept being seriously bullied at school. I would insist that the current school take clear-cut actions to address bullying. It is not her fault! Perhaps having your daughter in a girl scout troop or sports team will give her a chance to make closer friends in her grade level, providing a sort of safety net.

I don't know how easy it would be to switch schools, but will she have friends at the new school? Not knowing anyone in the new school could add to her stress, or else create an opportunity to start fresh. I just don't know. Good luck with your decision. The last thing I will add is to follow your gut instinct. You can't go back and change the fact that you enrolled her in school when she just made the cut-off, so don't beat yourself up over that. Focus on the situation at hand. Be her strongest advocate, because if you aren't no one else will be. And remember there is no one right answer for everyone. We all just do the best we can!

beebuzz's picture
beebuzz

Hi! We moved to Fl. from CA. My 3rd grader was making progress but in Fl. higher standards and with FCAT he fell behind. Retention is automatic with low test scores for state. My husband doesn't want him retained, but because he's also immature for his age, I think that he needs a little more re-teaching for solid grade level work before he can go onto the 4th gr. He doesn't want to and fears peer pressure but he hasn't had time to really bond solidly with anyone as in CA. Changing schools would be better if it was the case. I will have the school psychol. work with him to make the transition easier. They need good support both at home and at school, as well as commendation and incentives. With this NO Child Left Behind Act, more kids are being left behind. Whatever happened to the old days with the focus on the three R's! I don't have the answers but here is my experience and would enjoy any feedback or suggestions.

sailing's picture
sailing

What does the school and teacher say about your ideas to retain? I faced this with my son when leaving elem. schl. and going to middle. Academically, he was a good student and passed standardized tests. He had been an early summer birthday, and was also on medication for adhd. He just didn't turn in work on time, and the end of the qtrs. were always a mad rush to catch up. We had looked at programs after kindergarten, as the kindg. teacher (a young and loud teacher - therefore hyping up the students without meaning to)felt he needed a program that came between kindgtn. and 1st grade to give another year to mature(which has since been done away with in our schools after all). My gut feeling (and I was an experienced elem. teacher with many yrs and a masters degree before starting a family)was that the pre-first program wasn't the right thing. We had psychological testing done and were told he should go on to 1st. We were moving to a nearby new school area, and the teachers and principal there felt he could go on to 1st. We did, and fortunately, his 1st grade teacher let me know he had strong adhd characteristics (even though the psychol. had said "not enough to warrant medication"). More testing by a different and famous psychol. who said it probably would not have hurt to have put him back, but not to do so now. If we ever changed schools in the future, place him in a very challenging school but back a grade. Extremely bright. He began medication. After 5th grade, I felt our middle schools were too large, so we placed him in a small Christian school, telling them the situation and our dilemma of whether to repeat 5th or go on to 6th at that time, due to immaturity and lack of motivation. His 5th grade teacher and principal both had felt he should not be retained, but the new school said their 6th grade was already full and to "give him the gift of time". When the exact same behaviors continued (A, B, C grades), losing work that I saw completed well, but it never made it to the teacher, work still missing at end of quarter, with mad rush to get it in before report cards (which he did only after we took away all electronics - especially video games). I knew he should not have been held back, but 6th grade was already over capacity in students at that school. Time to update the psychol. testing (it had been 5 years). The psychol. told me what I knew - "get him out of 5th grade; he is bored to death". After learning about many small private schools which I didn't know existed, visiting 25 schools in 2 days, I narrowed it down to three. I took my son and my husband (who was against moving him back up to the grade he would've been in until the male psychol. told him I was right) to the 3 schools. We all felt good about one which was founded especially for ADHD. My son began 6th grade in February with 5 students to one teacher, but in pods where they met and worked with other classes in a larger setting too. I never had to tutor him to catch up. He still exhibited the same behaviors of not finishing or turning in work until the last minute, but with the attention he was able to get in a small setting, and a program they called "levels" where peers meet and evaluate themselves and each other's social interaction, he became a leader and his talents really came out. Maybe that could've happened in our large public schools, but probably not. He was editor of the school newspaper his senior year, was in Leadership Council, and starred in many of his high school musicals. He is now a sophomore at the most prestigious acting school in New York City. A stranger cannot know what your child needs, but you can go with your gut feeling, after talking with your teachers and other staff there. If there are no special programs to help (counselor to work on social skills, resource teachers), see what smaller schools might be available. Some offer scholarships. And above all, pray, pray, pray constantly for guidance. Even when I didn't know I was being led to the right place, I was.