OK to skip a grade?

Stacy writes from Alabama:

I need to know about skipping grades. My son who is supposed to be in the 3rd grade had found the work is too easy for him. So, I have started him doing 4th grade work to challenge him. I just need to know is that okay? I am assuming then that he, if kept at this place, will graduate early. Did I do the right thing? Living in Alabama, is it legal?

Hi Stacy,

First, we should note that we are not qualified to give legal advice, and nothing that follows should be considered as such.  You should probably contact the Home School Legal Defense Association with this, and any other legal questions regarding homeschooling.

With that said, skipping grades is an issue many homeschool families face! smile This is particularly common when you have two children who are fairly close in age; the younger tends to learn right along with the older student.  In our family's case, Matthew and Jonathan were just under two years apart, and by the time Jonathan reached first grade, he was essentially academically even with third-grader Matthew.

As you surmised, this does tend to lead to early graduation!  Matthew ended up graduating one year early, at age sixteen.  Jonathan took the 12th grade achievement test that same year (three years ahead of schedule for him) and passed with flying colors. But, because he was only fifteen at the time, he had to continue his studies until he reached the age of sixteen, thus fulfilling the minimum age requirements for our state.

With regards to your question, you should probably take a look at HSLDA's summary of Alabama homeschool laws. Our unprofessional opinion is that the only item relevant to your question is the compulsory attendance requirement, which appears to be age-based.  If this assessment of the law is correct, your son should be free to skip grades whenever appropriate, provided he remains in school until reaching the minimum age required for Alabama.

However, we would again encourage you to contact HSLDA directly with this and any other legal questions relating to homeschooling, as they will be much better able to help you with accurate information about homeschooling in your state.