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Sun Feb 17, 2019, 11:51 PM

I knew about the phenomenon of a "gap year" but THIS was a new one for me. Anyone encountered this?

A relative of mine is having their kid take a gap year. But instead of it being between high school and college, this kid is taking a gap year between 8th grade and high school.

This is the first time I have heard of someone delaying the start of high school without a significant medical, financial, social, or educational reason. Although not their words exactly, they seem to be doing this "just because." When making small talk about it, their explanation was super-vague/nebulous and I didn't want to create awkwardness by digging into it.

There isn't an issue with the high school -- he'll be going to the same good public high school in their affluent suburb that his older siblings went to. He isn't developmentally behind -- he's healthy, tall for his age, bright, socially engaging, active in athletics and other hobbies. And he isn't doing anything of note with the year off -- no travel plans, no new cultural experience plans, no work plans. His plans for the year were no different than his 8th grade year, but without school.

At first I thought maybe there was a reason which was just being kept private, but more than half-way through the school year and I haven't heard a peep about him going anywhere or doing anything noteworthy, nor of him being unwell in any way. It is looking like it really was "just because"-ish.

Is this the front end of an impending trend which I'm unaware of, or is this as random/aberrant as it seems to me?

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Reply I knew about the phenomenon of a "gap year" but THIS was a new one for me. Anyone encountered this? (Original post)
RockRaven Feb 2019 OP
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2019 #1
mercuryblues Feb 2019 #2
lunasun Feb 2019 #3
RockRaven Feb 2019 #8
lunasun Feb 2019 #10
bottomofthehill Feb 2019 #4
brush Feb 2019 #5
Haggis for Breakfast Feb 2019 #6
mahina Feb 2019 #7
RockRaven Feb 2019 #11
agingdem Feb 2019 #9
RockRaven Feb 2019 #12
agingdem Feb 2019 #13
nilram Feb 2019 #14
A DAY IN THE LIFE Feb 2019 #15

Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 11:57 PM

1. That does seem a bit strange. And pointless, especially since

there don't seem to be any plans for him to do anything special or useful, like maybe working for that year on a farm in the Outback.

I will say that I tried hard to convince my sons to take a gap year, but neither one wanted to. I think a gap year is an excellent idea, if it's possible. I understand that these days colleges are often willing to suspend scholarships for that gap year, so the student doesn't lose it.

There may well be some reason that they just don't want to talk about, which would actually make a lot of sense. Unless the kid has bamboozled them into letting him take this year off for no good reason, in which case, I'd wonder both about their ability to exert appropriate parental authority, and what that kid is really up to.

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 11:58 PM

2. I have never heard of it either

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 11:59 PM

3. Could he be transitioning ? If it was a young 14 yr old girl I might think it was to continue

a secret pregnancy to adoption perhaps but really what ever the reason right now it is not being told
Maybe it is something they want to keep quiet and are being very vague if questioned . I would allow them privacy but I would think they have to provide education
How do they get around truancy law ? Are they claiming home schooling ?

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Response to lunasun (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 12:42 AM

8. Those are two good possibilities I didn't include in my break-down, thanks for pointing them out.

Although, I don't *believe* they apply to this person. I saw him over the holidays and he seems as he ever did, albeit having grown a bit (which I recognize is not dispositive of transitioning, but it adds a few weights to the scale). Also making transitioning less likely is that his parents are super right-wing FOXNews-watching Rush-listening fundamentalist Christians (of the everyone-who-does-not-believe-in-our-narrow-subset-of-protestantism-is-going-to-burn-in-hellfire variety), who I strongly suspect would not support their child in that situation. Sad, but that's how they are -- at least by all available outward indications.

As you allude to, I'm not keen on invading their privacy. I let my curiosity satiate itself upon superficial small talk at family gatherings because I'm not keen on prying. But by now I'm half-way to the conclusion that there isn't anything being hidden, it really was just because they felt like it. Which made me wonder if other people are doing this too.

As far as truancy goes, I don't know precisely, but they did home-schooled some of their older kids through 8th grade, so I would assume they game the system from that angle, if it is necessary (I've got no clue what is necessary there).

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Response to RockRaven (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 01:37 AM

10. Oh RW fundies-they often have little reverence for education "loser teachers , fake evolution" etc.

That is an important fact that they are RW
Norms or common sense explanations to their actions do not often apply .
Felt like it , donít care, or disgruntled most likely .

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 12:10 AM

4. Students between the ages of 5 and 17 must attend school in VA

They can be home schooled but must have a school program in place. I wish I held my son back in 8th grade as he was young for his grade. He graduated at 17 and was on the immature side and would have been better served starting high school a little later. He had a gap year with mixed results.

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 12:20 AM

5. Might no be legal if the kid is not being home schooled.

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 12:25 AM

6. When I was in elementary school (in the early 60s)

A friend of mine was out of school for a year between the third and fourth grades. Her parents owned an ocean-going sailboat (about 60' long, if I remember correctly), and pulled her and her older sister out of school. They spent that year sailing around the world. We moved, so I never knew anything beyond that, but I always wondered what remarkable adventures and knowledge their voyage must have brought.

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 12:35 AM

7. Is it something you feel comfortable discussing with your relative

Directly?

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Response to mahina (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 01:49 AM

11. Honestly? No. They're right wing nutjobs who are totally miseducating/brainwashing their kids in

terms of reality-based subjects like history and science (never mind squishier subjects like economics or cosmic/ethereal ones like theology) -- think the kind of people who take their kids to Ken Ham's Creation Museum or Ark Encounter and you'll have a good picture of them.

So any discussion with them beyond small talk is asking for a headache. I am absolutely certain my opinion/questions would have no impact on their course of action (whether or not it is my place to look out for this kid, I'll have no impact on what happens to him in this arena, and I don't believe he's being harmed per se), so there is no use discussing it with them for any reason beyond satisfying my curiosity. And that satiation is not worth the headache of pushing the conversation beyond what they will offer without prompting.

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 01:10 AM

9. does this kid play a sport?

two of my granddaughter's friends took a "gap" year between 8th and 9th grade so they would be eligible to play high school varsity sports another year..

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Response to agingdem (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 02:19 AM

12. Yes. Golf, soccer, and he's a runner (cross country/distance track).

His personal ambitions, as far as sports go, are golf-oriented. At least as far as I can tell. He really wants to be an accomplished golfer.

Soccer is more of a thing his parents (coaching) and siblings (playing) dragged him into by the inertia of the family. Same with running -- two of his siblings had cross country or track college scholarships.

I had considered that his sports ambitions might be involved, but does it really make a difference how good a golfer you are as an incoming freshman? (FWIW, he's already big for his age anyway and plays a LOT of golf for his age) I don't know enough about how one becomes a professional golfer to be sure, but I suspect not.

Even if one year of physical development made the difference between getting a college scholarship and not, his parents can afford to send him to college anyway... Are they money-grubbing enough that they would they delay his education for a year to try to increase his chances of a scholarship in a distant, uncertain future? I would not have selected that as the most likely explanation, but I don't know...

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Response to RockRaven (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 03:25 AM

13. it's not about affording college...

it's about having that extra year to develop...and yes that one year makes a difference...it's like playing "up"..bigger stronger a real stand out...it's about scouts and scholarships and playing in college...

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 05:18 AM

14. maybe, if "their explanation was super-vague/nebulous"

then the reasons are personal, private, and/or none of your business. Probably all three, but certainly the third.

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Response to RockRaven (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 08:44 AM

15. How about voluntarily holding you child back in 8th grade for a year

 

The kid is a good student, B average. He plays football for one of the local clubs. The father of the boy decided that his son was not big enough to be successful in High School football, so he had him held back in 8th grade.

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