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Did you hold your boy back from Kindergarten for a year? - Page 2

post #21 of 124
Well, I didn't mean to start a fire. I was basing my statements on 10 years collective experience with my kids in a fabulous public school. When my kids started school, I had not even known of this phenomena which was so prevalent in that particular wealthy public school district.

However, it is easy to pick out the red shirt boys in kindy or first grade. They are smarter, louder, better coordinated and often the class leaders or class bullies. On the soccer teams, they are miles ahead with making goals and running, kicking and such. I have heard the dads boasting about "that extra year boost" their boys have.

I'd strongly suggest you have a talk with your school's principal and see if red-shirting is a strong component of your community. Truly, I wish I had known. My kids really struggled with their peers being so "big". Thank goodness they both shine at some things, so we muddled through.

Lastly, just from a sociological point of view.... this creates sort of a two tiered classroom setting. Kids from poor homes, single parents or others who cannot afford another year of stay at home or half day preschool will send their kids to school "on time";thus creating a situation where these "on -time" kids may not preform as well as the red shirts kids. Lower self-esteem, lower tests scores and feeling bad about being little or slower than the others may be part of what these kids will face every day.
post #22 of 124
We sent our young DS to KG last fall. Our cut off is Dec 31 and he only turned 5 in Dec. The jury is still out in terms of how this will go. I was the most reluctant to send him of the voices in the discussion and I continue to have the most hesitation about the decision. For us, we consider stuff about our kid:

-very big and physically coordinated for his age
-bright and ready academically
-two best friends also going to KG and going to same school

Things about the school
-not super competitive academically, a more old-fashioned KG experience
-red-shirting not common here

Things about the rest of the environment
-continuing at his old PS not a good option for many reasons
-other options unclear, though we could have found something

Mostly things are going ok. He's a bit grumpy about school these days, but it's mid-winter and everyone is a bit grumpy about it, including his older friends. He's had some tussles with a girl in his class but he seems to be managing them more or less. One of his friends has one of the 'red shirt' kids in her class and the kid is a real bully. That doesn't necessarily happen but in our environment with our kid, it could happen.

Like I said, I'm still the least convinced that sending him was a good idea though our alternatives also weren't great. We both work outside the home.

One thing that helped me was a long talk with a friend with an older boy. She had many stories of KG success and lack of success among her friends. I concluded two things from these stories - First, there wasn't a clear correlation between being young and having trouble. There was plenty of trouble in KG but often there were signs that there would be trouble and the signs were not always about age. Second, even 'disasters' at the KG level are not that hard to recover from. Some kids muddled on, some did a year of home schooling, some changed schools, some repeated KG. Sure, none of this was fun, but none of it was tragic either.
post #23 of 124
Does your son go to preschool anywhere? Have you asked his teacher what she thinks?

Also, some school districts will do "kindergarten readiness" screens for children with July/Aug birthdays. if you're planning on sending him to public school, you might call and see if they do that. You could have him screened and even if they recommend that he goes, you can still decide to hold him back a year.

There was a big article on delaying kindergarten entry or not in the New York Times maybe 2 years ago? Here, I found a link for it: When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?
post #24 of 124

Book Recommendation

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men
by Leonard Sax

Among other things Sax advocates that boys start school later than age five. I've heard him interviewed and he begs parents of five year old boys to keep them home an extra year. The book is a really interesting read.
post #25 of 124
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
Well, I didn't mean to start a fire.

I got off the computer earlier and now I am sort of sheepish. I didn't mean to get defensive in my previous post.

I'm thinking about both sides, now, and that is an interesting point about a "two tiered classroom". I had honestly never thought about parents sending their kids to school a year "early" because they couldn't afford anothe year at home, etc., and having discrepancies later on. I think it would only add to the divide between SES groups - now that I am seeing that perhaps keeping kids at home a little longer is a financial privilege of sorts?
post #26 of 124
I agree that it's an interesting perspective re: a two-tiered system. Many of the private schools around here have later starting dates for kindy cut-off than public. That's an interesting economic angle.

However, could we please refrain from calling children "red shirt boys"? I am not sure that labels like this are helpful and I certainly don't think it's respectful to the process some parents may go through, or to the children themselves.
post #27 of 124
Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post
I had honestly never thought about parents sending their kids to school a year "early" because they couldn't afford anothe year at home, etc., and having discrepancies later on. I think it would only add to the divide between SES groups - now that I am seeing that perhaps keeping kids at home a little longer is a financial privilege of sorts?
From what I've read on the topic, it's a huge aspect of this issue. The SES of a neighbourhood is a big indicator with regard to how much red shirting goes on, at least in the US. I don't think that red shirting is particularly popular in Canada.

The stay at home moms I know, for the most part, are highly educated. They're married to a DH who has an income that can support a family (provided they make reasonable choices with regard to spending). There's no financial pressure to get kids into school to stop paying for daycare, or so mom can go back to work. These families can much more easily choose to keep a child home for an extra year, or even to home school if that's what suits the child and the family best.
post #28 of 124
I'm a little sad that this is considered a gender issue. I realize that girls and boys often develop differently, but ALL children develop differently. Isn't that why we guide our children as individuals?
post #29 of 124
I think it's pretty common around here for boys and girls. I have a pretty good friend who "red shirted" (not for a sports advantage, just a common term for starting a kid late) her dd with an August b-day. She has excelled and I imagine she would have done well had she gone on time, too. I also have friends who started their petite son with a May b-day late. He's in private school, too. My dd's don't have b-days that are in question. I think my dd2 (5 last Nov) would probably do fine academically in K right now, but she has some separation anxiety issues that we're working out in Pre-K. How do you think your DS compares maturity wise to his Pre-K peers? I think it all just depends on the individual kids in question. I think generally kids are better with their peers in school (maturity- and academics- wise in the best of worlds) unless you have the benefit of a mixed age classroom (which we LOVE for dd1). It can be hard for a kid who is bigger than everyone else and more mature than everyone else to be in a "little kids" classroom, too.

post #30 of 124
I am responding in this thread even though it is my daughter who may not be ready for kindergarten. I have b/g twins born late June with an August 1st cutoff. I have been struggling with this decision. I was the youngest in my class but never had a problem – back then the cutoff was Dec 31st. Now it does seem to be common in our area to hold back boys born near the cutoff - I've been told it is due to emotional immaturity although I know of some parents who feel there is an added benefit for athletics.

I don’t want to hold back my son because he seems so ready but I don’t want the two of them in separate grades. The point pp's made about a child being ready now but the age difference becoming an issue in future years is a good point.
post #31 of 124
Both my dh and I are college graduates and I even have my masters, now. However, when we were making the decision about Kindergarten for our June boy, and for that matter, our January girl, it was essentially an economic one. I worked full time and put my dh through school and he graduated the December prior to our dd entering kindy. He didn't actually find a "real" job in his field until 2 years later when our june boy was going into K. We still had one more guy at home at the time, I still needed to work to pay off his student loans and help put food on the table and it is what worked for our family. If his K teacher would have recommended he stay back we would have crossed that bridge. He is now in 7th grade and one of the more mature of his friends. His brother, on the other hand, we had the decision made for us in that he was born 2 days after the cut off. He turned 6 2 weeks after the cut off and is the biggest kid in his class but is still one of the most immature kids I know.

And as far as sports go, this is definitely the case with school sports. However, my June baby plays club sports and it has more to do with your birthday than your grade.
post #32 of 124
I really despise the term "red shirting". To me, it implies that you held your child back for sports advantages.

We held ds back, he has a mid August birthday and we could have sent him to Kindy at age 5. He was ready cognitively, but was quite socially immature still.
Even his preschool teacher thought it'd be a good idea to hold him back a year.

The majority of his class is 6 years old btw, and I've found out that "red shirting" is quite common around here.

I have mixed feelings about it, he's right where he should be now socially, and getting more confident, but he's bored stiff with the work.
post #33 of 124
This was not an issue for my son, with a February birthday (thank heavens) but was for my daughter. We did not hold her back, but one argument that gave me pause, years after the fact, was a friend who said that when they are in their teens, she would prefer her child NOT be one of the youngest in the group.

I think our girl is strong enough not to be too much of a follower (she's her own person in middle school), but when it comes to high school and boyfriends, driving, under-age drinking ... it does make me wish that the future had been a bit more of a consideration.

As to K and elementary, she was fine. So I'm sure this will work too! But it is something to think about.
post #34 of 124
I've been thinking about this too as my ds (May bday) is starting 2 half days of preschool this fall at 3 yo. One reason I wanted to get in this particular preschool at this time is that they have a 5 half day course for those who are not sending their kids to kindergarten at 5 yo. I'm mad that our district changed to a full day curriculum. I just can't imagine a 5 yo ready to go to school for 6-8 hours a day. My ds is already as big as a 4 yo which brings its own problems as people who don't know him have high expectations. He also is in speech for articulation. And that brings me to my dd - will I send her on time or wait an extra year so they are 2 years apart in school? The two tier system is definitely a consideration for us.

I also try to think down the line - alot of kids don't get held back in K but then they have problems in middle school. That concerns me alot. And yeah, going to college/career at 19 seems alot better than 18. I would rather my kids stay somewhat under my supervision as long as possible.

All of that said, I went to very prestigious schools "on time" with a May bday. I never thought it was an issue.
post #35 of 124
I think it completely depends on the child. My ds's birthday is in late July. From the time he was a young toddler, I was thinking about this very issue and was strongly leaning toward keeping him home an extra year. But when the time came, it was obvious he was ready for kindergarten. He was not the most academically advanced child in the class by any means, but he was "on target" enough to do just fine, and luckily he had a teacher who wasn't too terribly pushy. Socially he was beyond ready and would have been miserable to have to stay home an extra year.

Now he is in first grade, loves school, and is doing very well both academically and socially. I have no regrets and know that we made the right decision.
post #36 of 124
I am strongly against it.

First my backstory. I was born in September. I started school in a large underfunded overcrowded city school system. There I was the youngest child in my class. I really didn't mind.

My family then moved to a well funded suburban school. They had a later cut off date, and veiwed children from the city as unprepared for their classes. So, they immediately reccomended that I be held back. So, suddenly I was the oldest kid in my class. I was now miserable.

Though the school did have newer books and nicer art supplies, this didn't change the fact that the academic level was way too easy for me. Socially things weren't great either. The other kids all played very silly games (due to it being a smaller school their was less of an age range at recess, and I was used to playing with a more mixed age group in the city.)

By junior high school I needed a C bra cup. Which was a real issue in gym class.

By high school, I just wanted to be done with it. I also had no study skill since academics (well except for thing directly related to my dyslexia like spelling, but studying didn't effect that anyway) had always come so easily that I had no need to develop them. I ended up as a high school drop out.

I know I'm only an individual with an anectdote, but research shows that I'm far from unique.

Being immature in kindergarten has very little effect on a persons life. However, being old enough want to be out of high school while still a sophmore certainly does.

Also, if you the best at X thing in the class and everyone says it's only b/c you happen to be older than the other kids really impacts selfesteem. It makes it so that nothing you ever achieve really gets appreciated.

Finally being bored academically is going to increase immature behavior and acting out.
post #37 of 124
Without reading the above...

DS will turn four in September, exactly 3 weeks too late to start 4yr old kindergarten. The school would make an exception but I know that boys tend to do better when held back. So he'll start K4 at age four and turn 5 about three weeks later, which puts him at 5 turning 6 for regular kindergarten.

DD started K4 and turned 4 two weeks later. She's a totally different kid and has thrived and has had no issues. I know I was pushed to start school early and never did kindergarten I could already read and would "be bored" as the tester put it. So I started first grade and turned 6 two months later. I was always youngest in the class, left out of things, did great academicallly, but then went off to college at 17. I"m happy it worked out that way, but not being the same age as the peers sucked at times.
post #38 of 124
Another thing...

Preschools are in favor of red shirting. It gives them another year with a calmer, easier, potty trained, full tuition paying student.

Teachers tend to be in favor of it based on what they see for in the lower grades. For a kindergarten teacher red shirting makes thing easier. It's a lot of work to try to interest 5 yo. It is easier for a teacher to talk 6 yo into sitting still and being quiet. Red shirting is good for kindergarten teachers.

School districts are in favor of red shirting. When the NCLB testing comes up if they have older kids taking the test the district scores better and gets more funding.

However, none of these reasons for being in favor of red shirting mean that the adult your child will become is better off. The purpose of school is to help prepare people to be happy adults not to be easy students.

Of people I've known, the ones who got done with school the earliest, tend to be glad to start there adult lives, where as those who's childhoods were dragged out by being stuck in school longer often feel like they are trying to play catch up.
post #39 of 124
I think you really need to look at your child. My son has a sept b-day and I plan on sending him on time. I honestly believe he will be miserable if I held him back and actually talking to the kindy teacher helped me feel better about it. I also have a baby girl who was born in dec (we have a dec 31st cut off). I really can't see myself sending her to kindy at age 4. She will most likely be held back a yr. I do not consider my holding her back a yr red shirting by any means. She is less then 2 months old and i have no idea where she will be acedemically at that age. I just think she will be to young to start school and it will be better for her to wait until age five.
post #40 of 124
I can tell you that my ds is in kindergarten this year and his sixth birthday is in May. He is the youngest child in his kindergarten class. My dd's birthday is in June and she is the youngest in her 2nd grade class.

They are both doing very well and were more than ready for school (both did a couple of years of prek) but it is obviously a very common practice.

I think it just really completely depends on the child and how kindergarten is run at the school.
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