Why Should We Delay High School?

At about this time every year, the inevitable question arises: What grade are your kids going into? For the twins this year, the answer is a bit tricky. They are gearing up for a second year of eighth grade.

Did the girls perform so poorly last year that our only recourse is to repeat the 8th grade? Nothing could be further from the truth. Both of the twins are outstanding students who have already earned high school credit in science and math. Read on to find out why they are waiting an extra year before beginning high school.

Our decision has absolutely nothing to do with their academic abilities. I am primarily concerned about their mental and emotional maturity at the completion of high school. If they enter ninth grade now, at age 13, they will only be 17 at graduation. Experience tells me it is generally more beneficial for kids to complete high school closer to 18.

How did this happen anyway? For the answer, let’s travel back in time 8 years. When the twins were 5, I began exploring kindergarten curricula for them. Glancing over every scope and sequence, I realized the girls had already mastered all of the skills. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and a fun set of Rod & Staff workbooks had taught them the essentials. Choosing the obvious solution, I allowed them to skip right to first grade. From the start, they have always been young for their grade.

A few months ago, the girls expressed some concern about entering ninth grade now. While I was praying about delaying their “entrance into high school,” one of them approached me with the idea of doing another year of middle school. Hearing the suggestion from their youthful lips, I realized the wait would be worth it.

By delaying high school, they can progress through this year at a more relaxed pace while still earning a few high school credits. The postponement also gives them an extra year to go farther in their education while still at home. One twin shared her aspiration to complete both Calculus and college-level Physics before high school graduation.

Even though this decision extends my homeschool teaching career by a year, I am more concerned about what is best for the girls. Talking through the issue with the twins and my husband, we all agree it is best for them to have another eighth-grade year.

I appreciate the freedom of homeschooling. Because of it, I was able to advance my girls to first-grade work when they were ready for it. The same freedom allows me to give them a bonus year of middle school. It’s about what is best for my kids, not what is most convenient for an educational institution.

Would you ever consider advancing your student ahead or postponing graduation based on their age or maturity? Please share your thoughts in the comments.