If you decide to accelerate your kid and if this information gets out through cross-examination from strangers, say, at the airport, then the conversation invariably goes like this: “I redshirted my kid, best decision I ever made, she’s so popular and she gets straight As. There’s a kid in her class who is younger and he’s just WEIRD. Just as a warning, maybe it doesn’t matter so much now, but when ze gets to the high school level kids who skip just end up weird.”
You will also get this argument many times should you post about it on your blog (“I know a kid who skipped and he was socially ostracized”).
People really don’t get counterfactuals– that correlation is not causation.
I think we got some anecdotal examples here about some kid being skipped and he was a sociopath and mean to his brother… as if that had anything to do with acceleration. What I said to the woman in the airport was that the kid probably would have been weird even if he hadn’t been skipped (‘cuz I teach statistics).
But what I should have said (and I did not think about this until later that night), was that maybe there isn’t anything wrong with being weird (maybe even, “Bill Gates was weird”).
Maybe being different isn’t so bad, especially when the same as everyone else is pretty mediocre. Maybe middle school popularity shouldn’t be our end-goal in life. When kids who are different grow up, sometimes they do quite well for themselves, better than the folks who spent their entire K-12 career blending in. What’s the t-shirt say, Well-behaved women seldom make history?
I think Sheldon says it very well in this comic. (Weird kids out there… It gets better!)
Do you think that being weird in K-12 is the worst thing that can befall a kid? Do you really believe that the only way a an out-of-synch kid can keep from being socially ostracized is by being kept with hir same aged peers, even when they have nothing in common? (That last question there is rhetorical– not only is there a nice literature on the social benefits of acceleration for out-of-synch kids, we can assure you it is far worse to hang back from personal experience.)