Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Is Red His Color?

Hi, regular readers! I've posed a question over at DC Metro Moms about whether I should send Jack to kindergarten next year or keep him in preschool for an extra year. I'd love your opinions, either here or there!


  1. I read your DC mom's article.
    I have an October baby as well. He is 15 and in high school now. He was not ready the year before... academically, he would have done fine, but socially he would have floundered.

    As for your other baby... I'd send him. I would also be prepared to hold him back a year and not feel bad or like you have wasted his time. This is the perfect way to find out if he is ready. I would even express your concerns during the placement tests - there is a comment section where you can write that. If he needs an IEP, get it before he enters kindergarten. Have him core tested. Do what you need to do to ensure your son will get the services he needs. Also, be prepared to fight for what you think is best. If he gets through the year, but you still feel he isn't ready... fight for him to stay back.

    Best of luck to you!
    Ladybug Crossing

  2. I am a December baby, my mom, post divorce HAD to get me into school as soon as possible... she had to go to work. She fibbed about my date of birth to satisfy the cut-off date, and off to school I went.

    Off to school, and not really ready.

    I won't go into great detail about the damage that I believe was done... water under the bridge and all of that, but I wil say this: Wait until they are ready.

  3. I had a nice long comment ready to go, and then Hubby messed with the computer and all was lost. Ugh. I have to do some work now, but I shall return...

  4. I am agonizing over this myself right now. I KNOW my son is not ready,but because he has an IEP the school wants to push him ahead. I am going to do EVERYTHING I can to keep him back this year. I think he will really benefit from another year to mature, and will be more on target with his peers.

    Good luck on your decision. Even if you decide to move him ahead, you can always keep him back next year if things don't work out.

  5. I was just having this same conversation today with a group of moms. With mid-August birthdays, my boys will be the very youngest in their class if we start kindergarten when we're supposed to. I don't know what's the right thing either but I'd say - trust your instincts. I'm hoping that I'll have more of a handle on it next year at this time. I've also heard that it's really hard to get an extra year of PEP, but I would certainly try if you think you might be successful.

  6. I read you at DC Mom's as well...I am eventually going to have the same issue. My son's birthday is Sept 23 (we live in VA, so the cut-off is Sept 30). And I have already said we'll have to prepare to send him when he's just turned 5--register him, etc. But we'll also be ready to scrap that plan and wait a year if we think its too soon when we get closer to him actually starting school.

    Good luck in making your decision!

  7. We redshirted both of our summer-birthday boys (kindergarten cutoff date here is 9/1), but not for any of the reasons explained in the NYT article. We did it because our older son had been slammed with so much boring seatwork and homework in elementary school, and we didn't want to subject our younger sons to those ridiculous expectations till they absolutely had to be. It's very hard for the typical little boy to sit still for 2-hour stints of worksheets and very hard to come home to another hour of homework and very hard to walk quietly and talk quietly and sit quietly all day long when recess is only twice a week, etc. Why rush a little fellow into all that, no matter how bright he might be? For us, it had nothing to do with getting a leg up on the "competition." It was all about protecting our sons' childhood.

    My husband, himself a summer boy, had his doubts about this plan initially, but a teacher friend of ours pointed out that he went to school at 5 when kindergarten was play time for half a day-- basically what preschool is now. Today, kindergarten in most states is a full day, and children learn to read-- basically what first grade used to be. And that's not even taking into account how No Child Left Behind has forced teachers into ditching art and music and all kinds of fun stuff to make room for more prep for standardized tests.

    Finally (sorry for the long post), I have to disagree with ladybugcrossing. My sister tried that send-him-and-see approach with her June boy last year, and when the teacher recommended that he be held back for social immaturity (though he was reading just fine), my poor little nephew was heartbroken. All his friends went on to first grade and wouldn't play with him any more. It just made him feel stupid, and he's not stupid at all. He's exceptionally smart-- he just wasn't good at sitting still yet.

  8. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies. Most of them reinforce the way I was leaning, but didn't really know I was leaning. I've learned from all of you. Thank you.

  9. OK, looks like you aren't leaning this way, but here's my theory. Bubba had a really rough kindergarten year (have you seen my posts on the seclusion room?!). I don't think holding him back would've helped much. First, he was big and strong for his age already, he would've kicked the other preschool kids' asses if he stayed there. I would've been scared because he had very poor impulse control and our preK is 3-5--small kids! 2nd, he had mastered the preschool curriculum since he was in preschool full day (I worked full time) and was in the same class for 2 years. The transition was hard for him. It was a totally different set of expectations and demands, a different environment, and while he did mature in his ability to self-regulate, I don't think he would've coped with the transition much better. He didn't show signs of academic issues until new things were coming faster and harder. For us, it has taken that for the school to realize, yes he des have various disabilities, he's not a bad kid. My belief is that he has developmental disabilities, and while holding him back may make a difference at first, it's not really age that matters. In Bubba's case, the gap is growing, but he is holding his own. I think he would be having the same social struggles even if he was a class younger. Plus he really gets the whole age thing "How come I am 8 in this grade when so and so is 7? How come I didn't get to go to 3rd grade?" This would really bother Bubba. We have a lot of social issues which are really hard to deal with (today he sobbed in front of the shitty neighbor kid [1 yr older] when the kid said he didn't want to play with him. But the other neighbor kid is in kindergarten and doesn't like to play with Bubba unless noone else is around. And the kid across the street is in Bubba's class, and he doesn't play with him either. Actually the kindergartener and the 3rd grader prefer to play together. Without Bubba. It really sucks. But Bubba does have friends, but they don't live buy us, and I don't even know how old they are, the boys just have the same interests (construction/transportaion).

    OK, I don't know where I'm going with this, except for, you know the answer..it's in your gut. Just weed through the emotion to get to it. We all get to our answers based on our experiences and what we know about our children. You know you, and you know Jack. You know.


Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.