DS is 4 with a December birthday, currently in his second year of primary at his Montessori school. Next year he will complete Kindergarten in Montessori, even though by public school standards he will only be eligible for pre-K based on his age. The question is, what do we do with him the following year? Our options are to send him to the local public school and either keep him in the age-appropriate grade of Kindergarten, essentially repeating Kindergarten, or put him in first grade (accelerated one year based on his age). There is also a local charter school that looks interesting, with an IB program that we can apply to, but it's a lottery to get in. I think I would keep him in Kindergarten in this program, but I'm not sure. Additionally, we could stick with Montessori for elementary, but for financial reasons (among other reasons) I'm not sure that's going to be feasible, or the best fit.
What brings me to worry about this so much, is that while DS is more mature and academically advanced than his same-age peers, he seems to be struggling in his pre-school class. His teacher says that he does not complete the "challenging work" that she feels he should be doing. He can, he just chooses not to. When I asked for an example of challenging work, she listed several things that DS has been able to do for well over 2 years, like counting objects to 10 and word building with 3 letter words. My opinion is that he is just bored, but she will not give him more advanced work. At home he begs me to give him math problems to solve, adding and subtracting numbers to 20. He loves to do mazes and word-finds, and will do entire books of them in one sitting. I don't know his reading level, but I do know that he's through the second level of Bob books at school, can decode almost anything, and surprises me with the long list of sight words he knows. His biggest weakness is his fine motor skills, and while he can write, it isn't easy for him and he still doesn't hold a pencil properly. He hates writing and often times will play with his shoelaces for an hour to avoid doing any writing work at school. (Of course, when that writing work is tracing his name or writing his numbers to 20, it's no wonder he doesn't find it inspiring and doesn't want to try.) He can count money and is learning to tell time.
Socially, he fits in better with children 1-2 years older than him. His only same age friend is similarly gifted, and his other friends are 1-3 years older. His sense of humor developed at a very early age, as well as his language skills. His attention span is not an issue - his teacher says that if he's interested in something he can focus on it for the entire morning if he's not interrupted. His gross motor skills are extremely well developed - he's athletic and enjoys soccer and karate. He's also tall for his age and people usually assume he's much older than he is. He has no behavior problems at school, other than his teacher reporting that he will often just sit there and play with a piece of fuzz rather than complete the work she thinks he should be doing. He can go an entire day without completing any "challenging work" and she will not allow him to do other things of his choice (like Legos, practical life, or clay work) until he has completed his "challenging work". (This has been an ongoing problem with the teacher/school, and DH and I have considered taking him out. We just worry about moving him in his last year of preschool, only to move him again the next year.)
I worry that if I basically have him repeat kindergarten in public school (in 2 years) he will be even more bored than he is now, and more likely to get in trouble. On the other hand, being that his fine motor skills are not his strength and he seems to resist the structured work he's given now (such as it is), he may not be ready for 1st grade yet (again, not this coming year, but the one after). Still, I can't shake the feeling that he's bored out of his mind, and will do better in a more challenging environment. Surely someone else on here has been in a similar situation and can shed some light on their experience. The application period for the charter school is in December, and I would really like to have a plan in place by then.
Edited for spelling/typos.