My three oldest children participate in a gifted program. They are all several years ahead on their reading and ahead in math too. They have enjoyed the additional challenge and depth of projects offered as part of the gifted program. So, in theory, I should have been ready for Annika.
Annika started reading at 22 months. She could read Mama, Daddy, Annika and Baby. She never got them mixed up. So we just kept adding more words. It was hilarious to see her read as a two-year-old. You know when you watch those movies with animals talking and it looks weird because the lips are moving? It was like that. You just couldn't believe what you were seeing.
It would be cool if I could lay some kind of claim to Annika's skills, but I can't. She simply came this way. She is fascinated with academics. At four, she reads on a high 3rd grade/low 4th grade level, she is working her way through first grade math and demands spelling words and writes regularly in a journal. Some of our biggest fits come when I help the older kids with their homework rather than teach her something new because their assignment is due, while Annika's is merely self-imposed.
I've had people suggest that I put Annika up a grade. I haven't really entertained that idea for a few reasons. First, she has a late March birthday which puts her in the younger half of the kids in her own grade. Second, I expect that she would want to play with kids her own age. Third, by being academically so far ahead of her classmates, she would have the advantage of being a leader. Other students begin naturally looking to you for answers. When EVERYONE is older than you (some, a year and a half or more) how do you develop leadership?
So it seems that my mind is made up. Not so. Annika had a recent playdate with a girl in her preschool class. They way they wanted to play and the kinds of things they wanted to play were vastly different. There were times that you could see the wheels turning in Annika's head as she realized that this friend didn't understand what seemed obvious to Annika.
She kindly opted to play along at her friends level, and they had a good time. But I've seen her playing with neices of mine or Wendell, who are 6 or 7 and she plays much more like the older kids. I'm concerned that socially, Annika would benefit of being put ahead a grade, an idea that seemed proposterous to me before.
As Wendell and I consider our options, and there are many, do you have any experience of putting kids up a grade? Or were you bumped up? Did you like it or not? I'd really like to know.