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Parents need to decide what's best for children

June 16, 2000|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

For the past several weeks, Ed and Darcy Munro have been going through the stressful process of deciding whether or not to skip their son Austin, 7, ahead to third grade in the fall.

"It's so hard to challenge a smart child, and you want to make sure they don't get bored and start daydreaming in class," Darcy Munro said.

Munro said she and her husband have been very concerned about keeping their sons challenged in school because of their own experiences.

"We were both so bored in school, by the time we got to high school we were both goof-offs and didn't take school seriously," she said.

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Austin seems to be a good candidate - intellectually and socially - for skipping second grade, Munro said.

"He's just like a little sponge," she said. "Austin has always been socially forward. He does a really good job of making everybody his friend."

Still, it's a really tough decision, Munro said.

In the case of their eldest son, Derek, 8, she said they decided skipping a grade wasn't a good idea for social reasons.

While very bright, Derek is much more reserved than Austin and tends to take longer to build up a group of friends, Munro said.

To keep him challenged, they opted for pull-out classes in certain subjects, she said.

Elizabeth and Harold Brandenburg wish they would have had the option to have their boys stay in their own grades and be pulled out for some sort of gifted program.

The Hagerstown couple said they felt they had no choice but to skip both of their sons, now 43 and 36, ahead in elementary school.

Back then, the Washington County school system didn't have an alternative way to challenge the boys, who were advanced beyond their grade-level curriculum, the Brandenburgs said.

Elizabeth Brandenburg said it was especially tough for her to decide to put the boys ahead in school after being skipped a grade herself in elementary school and never feeling quite like she belonged with her own age peers or her classmates.

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