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Being oldest vs. being youngest in class?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for others' btht experiences with having kids who are either one of the oldest or one of the youngest in their classes from about middle school on up. My youngest dd is going to be 5 in June and I am having the worst time deciding if I should send her to K or not. All the teachers I've talked to say it won't matter for her in kindergarten or even in elementary school at all, but where it may matter is down the line in middle school, high school, and starting college. So I'm wondering what other people have found in dealing with this?
post #2 of 21
My dad was the youngest (his birthday is in October, so he was a full year younger than some classmates. I think his parents may have gotten some kind of special permission to send him early.) He did fine in school, has never been a terribly social guy, but regards his first year of college as wasted because he wasn't mature enough. He went on to med school, so take that with a grain of salt, but he made sure my brother was one of the oldest - db has a June birthday and my parents sent him to kindergarten twice.

A friend with two late summer kids was strongly encouraged by the school district to send them after their *sixth* birthday to kindergarten - it's such a norm in their district that the deadline is basically May. All the kids with summer birthdays are "held back" so had her late July 5 yo started kindergarten she would have been the youngest - younger by more than a year in some cases.

Are you getting encouragement from her preschool teachers to send her this year or next year?
post #3 of 21
I have one of each...my 10 year old has an October birthday so is one of the oldest in his class. My almost 13 year old has a June birthday and is one of the youngest in hers.

It was true that in early elementary, it wasn't a big deal for her. But as she's gotten older she is lagging behind the others in her grade emotionally (she's at the top of her class in schoolwork). Not a problem when it comes to boys, etc, but it is when it comes to how SHE deals with problems/differences that arise (screaming if she's mad instead of talking things out, etc.)

I haven't had any problems with the 10 year old socially or otherwise.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Lish, those are my two dd's birthday months too. I sometimes wish I'd had another fall baby and then it wouldn't have been a dilemma.

My 8yo with the Oct. birthday was very ready and has done very well so far. My 4yo who will be 5 in June has always been less mature than her older sister was at the same stage. She gets overwhelmed very easily with new situations which is my only concern with starting kindergarten. It took her two months to be able to separate from me at preschool without crying (and she LOVED preschool). Academically I know she will do fine, she tested high on all the skills they check for so the school says basically "she's old enough, send her". However, it's the social factor I'm worried about. Her preschool has 7 kids in a school that has around 50 total, her K class would likely have around 20 in a school of about 450 so the hallways, playground, lunchtime, etc....are so chaotic I know that would be the hardest part for her.

Even though I know she would do fine with the elementary school thing now, it really is down the road that I worry about and the only experience I have is my sister whose b-day was August and my mom sent her because she was totally ready for K. Then as she got older my mom wished she would have waited one more year because she was NOT ready for high school, and even less ready for college (she's on her 5th one so far.....). DH says that's just "her", that it has nothing to do with her age, but I don't know. I'm sure that had to have some impact on becoming "her", yk?
post #5 of 21
Reading along.

DP & I both had summer birthdays and went "on time." We sent DD, 7 now, "early" (she started 2nd grade at 6.5). DS will turn 5 on 8/31 and he will be going to kinder this year (three kids in the preschool class ahead of him are repeating, it is VERY popular in this school district to "redshirt").

I really feel like you need to make the decision that is right *now* and worry about what is right in junior high in junior high, kwim? I would hate for DD or DS to be in the "wrong" grade for 6 years simply to make a *hypothetical* problem in junior high or high school less.
post #6 of 21
My kids have late April/early May birthdays, and with the trend toward keeping kids back a year, they are effectively the youngest in their classes. In our case, I can honestly say that there have been no drawbacks to being a younger one. In fact, our biggest "problem" at the moment is that nearly all my son's friends can drive, and he has to wait. I do wonder about the college years, but my kids have adjusted well so far, and I see no reason that would change.

In my son's class, there is one girl with a birthday a year behind everyone else - her parents petitioned the school district to let her enter KDG at 4. She has suffered no ill effects that I can see, but I'm not her mother.
post #7 of 21
I did a lot of research on this, and all of the current studies show that retaining in any sense doesn't have advantages over not retaining. (Any time a child is "held back" for any reason, it is called retaining.) So, while you may see advantages in the short term, in the long term there may be none. What matters is the child's true developmental readiness, not the arbitrary idea of age. A child who is ready for kinder will do well, and one that is not, may not. I see a lot of kinds who were held back in elementary ( I teach HS), and I see no difference between them and their younger peers. It can cause the older kids to act out or be disruptive because they are bored or just ready to be out of HS. The best advice is to look at your child and what the school district is expecting, and send them based on that. FWIW, My boys are summer babies, and went at 5, and are doing just fine, in a very academic district. I did fine, and I was the youngest in my grade. My dd was held back, and it worked for her because of her severe dyslexia. Sorry to ramble, but I hope this helps.
post #8 of 21
I just thought I would share my experience. I have a summer birthday and I started kindergarten at age 6, so I was one of the oldest in my class. They primary way this affected me is that I was academically way ahead of my classmates. (I had been reading since age 4.) Anyways, I ended up skipping eighth grade, so now I'm one of the youngest in my class (I'm a sophomore in college). This hasn't created any real problems. I was a late bloomer physically as well so I wasn't interested in dating and other "popular kid" activities in high school. I was frustrated at the time, but now I'm thankful that I developed my academic and athletic pursuits in high school. I haven't had too many problems adjusting to college (the main problem being unrelated to age: my parents completely sheltered me at home...it took me a little while to adjust to the secular world).
post #9 of 21
This topic is so dear to those moms who are living it!

Most folks who 'retain' (I get that it's called retaining, but it's hard to compare 'retained' kinders to a 'retained' 9th grader YKWIM?) generally do it for a summer boy. And with good reason. Boys just don't have the fine motor skills that girls have at the same age.

I have had the fortune of having 2 summer babies and one 'in the middle' baby. My first born is a February baby so he is perfect! The summer babies are one boy and one girl. They aren't middle school age yet, so I can't truly answer your question. I do know several mothers that I'm close to and they have summer girls that they did not hold back. I've known these girls since they were in kindergarten and they are in middle school now. There are three of them. Two of them have been in some form of tutoring since about 2nd grade. Even during the summer. They are just now catching up. One of the girls will not be tutored this summer for the first time in years! The other girl is okay academically (b's and c's) but socially, she struggles. All three girls are very easily led and pretty much followers. I agree that it certainly could be their nature to be a follower, I just think it's interesting that they are younger.

The leader/follower situation is a strong reason why I started my dd late. She has a late Aug birthday. Where I live, school starts at the beginning of August, so she was 4 when she started Kindergarten (she did Kinder twice). Honestly, I had no desire for my dd to be in 9th grade at 13/14 and be around girls almost driving age. That would be her circle of friends! My dd is in 4th grade now and she is amazing. She is so mature and strong. She doesn't get into the clique atmosphere and has absolutely no patience for all that 'you're not my friend' crap.

With my ds, he is a July baby and a boy, so it was almost a no-brainer. We knew going into starting him in school that he would repeat Kinder or 1st grade. There was just no way to do a technical kindergarten. He's the third child and was just too mature for that. Let me tell you, by the time he got to the end of first grade (the first time) he was miserable. He used to beg to not go to school and tell me at night that he hated being the youngest in the class. He read fine for his age, but when there are kids in the class almost a year older, he felt stupid! He also didn't have teeth missing. Everyone's teeth were falling out but his. He hated having to get books from the baby basket. He was embarrassed that some kids speed through worksheets while he struggled to complete them. He wasn't behind at all, he just wasn't a year older.

Based on my experience and the children I do see in the middle school environment - older is better. I do understand that some research indicates that older children are more likely to drop out etc, but this applies to those students who actually fail a grade.
post #10 of 21
I was a youngest. A December birthday, but I skipped 1st grade so I went into 9th grade (that was high school where I lived) at 13 and graduated at 17. It worked for me. I skipped 1st because I was ahead academically, which at that age primarily equates to reading and language skills, and remained ahead academically all the way through high school, despite the skip. I would have been bored out of my skull if I had stayed in the "correct" grade based on my age. The biggest downside I can think of? Seriously - you're going to laugh - I turned 21 with only one semester of college left. Missed out on some quality bar time! .

I was nervous going into a new class when I started 2nd grade, but by the end of the year, certainly by junior high or high school, that class was the class of my peers and the age difference was a non-issue for me.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lab
This topic is so dear to those moms who are living it!
I will keep that in mind as it is true and I have made the decision not to redshirt my dds (whose bds are in late Aug. and late Sept.).

Quote:
Based on my experience and the children I do see in the middle school environment - older is better. I do understand that some research indicates that older children are more likely to drop out etc, but this applies to those students who actually fail a grade.
I did want to address this statement, though. This is actually not true. A few studies have looked at kids who are old for grade to determine if it is only being retained (i.e. - repeating a grade) that is associated with negative social/behavioral consequences and/or higher drop out rates. The following studies found that being old for grade in and of itself (due to redshirting, not retention) is a risk factor for behavioral issues in later grades and/or increased drop out rates:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.or...ract/100/4/654 (abstract)
http://pediatrics.aappublications.or...full/100/4/654 (whole article - I gave you both depending on how much you want to read!)
http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/news/coverS...olding_out.php
This one I could only find the abstract for online & it didn't give a lot of info, but it found increased drop out rates among other things for kids who were redshirted and placed in pre-k classes rather than kindergarten when they could have been: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/c...05810/ABSTRACT
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN
I will keep that in mind as it is true and I have made the decision not to redshirt my dds (whose bds are in late Aug. and late Sept.).


I did want to address this statement, though. This is actually not true. A few studies have looked at kids who are old for grade to determine if it is only being retained (i.e. - repeating a grade) that is associated with negative social/behavioral consequences and/or higher drop out rates. The following studies found that being old for grade in and of itself (due to redshirting, not retention) is a risk factor for behavioral issues in later grades and/or increased drop out rates:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.or...ract/100/4/654 (abstract)
http://pediatrics.aappublications.or...full/100/4/654 (whole article - I gave you both depending on how much you want to read!)
http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/news/coverS...olding_out.php
This one I could only find the abstract for online & it didn't give a lot of info, but it found increased drop out rates among other things for kids who were redshirted and placed in pre-k classes rather than kindergarten when they could have been: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/c...05810/ABSTRACT
I have to admit I was shocked at the research you quoted. I couldn't believe that my son was more likely to quit school, get arrested etc. Really, you almost had me doubt myself! Then I read this part in the study you linked:

Quote:
Graue and DiPerna collected data from a representative stratified random sample of the 367 Wisconsin school districts with elementary schools. The stratification characteristic was socioeconomic status represented by the proportion of students eligible for the federal free and reduced lunch program. Graue and DiPerna examined the school records of more than 8,500 Wisconsin students in 47 districts to depict patterns of school entry, promotion, subsequent special services, and student achievement.
The study doesn't even come close to where I am. I need to invesigate further and look at studies that relate to my situation. Like the fact that boys don't even have the nerve endings in their fingers that girls do at the same age.

I'll finish reading and post more later.......
post #13 of 21
Well, this was certainly interesting!

Quote:

Graue compared achievement of various entry and promotion groups on the Wisconsin Third Grade Reading Test and found that all groups are statistically and practically even in their test results, with the exception of students who were retained during early elementary years.
Does this mean those students performed better. In that case, if that's the case, they just made my argument!
post #14 of 21
My feeling is to trust the schools with their cut off dates. If they thought kids needed to be almost 6 when they started kindergarten, then they would have set cut off dates accordingly.

Two out of my 3 brothers and I all have summer birthdays (July 31, Aug. 19 and Aug. 29), so we were all 17 when we graduated from high school. I never felt I was too young, nor have either of my brothers ever mentioned any problems. I never lagged academically (of course, in my day, kindergarten was not first grade as it is now). It was a little strange that some of my friends could legally drink while still in high school (long, long ago).

My two oldest daughters were born on Aug. 6 and July 20. Oldest (August baby) is now 13 and in eighth grade. Second daughter will be 11 in July and starts middle school next year. My oldest has never had any trouble in school. I don't like the idea of a lot of kids in her class being a whole year older because I think then all that teenage stuff like pushing limits, experimenting with alcohol and drugs, and sex starts to come into orbit too soon (DD #1 is still in that wonderful place where she likes teenage stuff like music and clothes AND still likes playing with dolls). DD #2 has also always done well academically. She is much shorter than many other girls her age, and that sometimes bothers her, but I tell her, I was in that position too, but around 13, I caught up with my peers.

As far as the increased expectations in kindergarten these days, I just always let my kids know that I didn't even expect them to learn to read at 5 (which they did) and that I didn't feel homework was important in K5 and that their dad and I both didn't learn to read at all until 1st grade and we turned into reasonably successful adults after all.

J.
mom to DDs 13, 10, 8 and DS 5
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lab
<<Quote:Graue compared achievement of various entry and promotion groups on the Wisconsin Third Grade Reading Test and found that all groups are statistically and practically even in their test results, with the exception of students who were retained during early elementary years. >>

Does this mean those students performed better. In that case, if that's the case, they just made my argument!
No, that's not what it meant. The same paragraph and the one prior explain in more depth:

Quote:
Quote:
All groups who are overage-for-grade, whether they have been redshirted or retained, have higher participation in special education services for learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and emotional disabilities. In fact, delaying entry or promotion was associated with higher likelihood of exceptional educational needs (EEN) services, with redshirts being 1.89 times more likely to participate in EEN programs.

Graue compared achievement of various entry and promotion groups on the Wisconsin Third Grade Reading Test and found that all groups are statistically and practically even in their test results, with the exception of students who were retained during early elementary years. Redshirts achieve on par with their grade-level peers, including summer birthday children who entered on time (though they are not on top as some would suggest). All retainees performed at levels below their grade level peers. Retention does not close the gap for children who experience early school failure.
This is not to say that your children will be failures or drop outs or will need special ed services! Likewise for my dds. The principal at dds' school actually told me that the younger child "invariably" struggle. You just can't make sweeping generalizations like that. Each child is an individual and I really am not trying to judge the decisions that you have made for your family even if they aren't the same as the ones I have made for mine.

To be fair, I have to say that I am dealing with somewhat out of the ordinary kids and we may be needing to make some decisions about grade acceleration or at least subject acceleration for my older dd in the near future. The major points that I got from the articles related to redshirting were: if you have a child with the combination of low ability and younger age, that child may do worse if you start him/her "on time" and if the child has special needs, the "gift of time" isn't going to make them go away. With an average child, it may confer some short term benefit, but I don't see any research based evidence that redshirting the average child results in long term benefits.

Since my oldest is only in 2nd grade, I will try to bow out of the conversation at this point since the OP really wanted the opinion of those with older kids. I just really wanted to address that one point -- sorry!
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Retention does not close the gap for children who experience early school failure.......Redshirts achieve on par with their grade-level peers, including summer birthday children who entered on time (though they are not on top as some would suggest
So.... if redshirts are on par and not advanced, does that mean if they were in the grade they were supposed to be in, they would be below average? Hmmmmm.

I just wanted to comment that neither one of my kids experienced early school failure. My dd is in 4th grade and easily reading/comprehending on a 7th grade level, so academics wasn't the problem. They were redshirted for completely different reasons. My dd is hearing impaired and suffered tremendously in kindergarten the first time. After she was 'held back' we learned that she was hearing impaired. Of course, I would do again. She has done nothing but benefit from it.

Also, I've never heard from anyone (and I've had this conversation a million times) who regretted holding back their summer child. I have met parents who regret sending their child on (maybe regret is harsh, how about have second thoughts about how it would have turned out). That said, the children I'm in contact with were not held back for academic reasons. None of them were. It appears to me that the studies done have focused on children who were held back for other reasons than the types of conversations discussed on this board.

You are right ChristaN, it is a personal decision and should be taken on a case by case level. Only the parents truly know their child. Also, if you have a parent this concerned about making a choice to retain their child, most likely they are involved, active and paying attention to their childs cues and needs. Not likely, in other words, to turn into the angry, bored drop out.

By the way, I love these discussions and enjoyed the links! I followed a few links while on the AAP website that gave me information on my dd's hearing loss! Thanks!
post #17 of 21
My DH is adiment (sp ?) about DD starting kindergarten this year. Deadline is Sep. 15th, and her b-day is the 14th. She is no way ready for it. I'm torn at what to do.
post #18 of 21
I was one of the youngest in my class. I have a November birthday, and the cutoff at the time was December 1, so I didn't even turn 5 until almost halfway through kindergarten.

For me, I feel it was a big problem early on and less so as I got older. I had some serious anxiety issues; my kindergarten report cards say things like, "Jennifer doesn't cry as much as she used to." I was physically behind the other kids and always got picked last for sports. I was socially awkward and didn't make friends easily--all the way up through junior high. What made this especially difficult was the fact that I was academically advanced over the entire class. Talk about painting a target on a kid's back for bullies!

However, once I reached my sophomore through senior years of high school, I matured a lot. Unfortunately, I mostly grew up quickly b/c of issues at home, but once I became more of a mature woman who valued her future, herself, and true friendships, I actually became pretty popular. And my age wasn't an issue at all in college. I actually like that I graduated at the age of 21 and got my masters at 23 b/c I felt like I got to get started on "real life" earlier.

Not sure if I'm answering the OP's questions, but the thread made me think about a lot of my childhood in school. And I'm not sure it's really relevant to this thread, but b/c of my own issues--physically, socially, and emotionally behind my class, but academically advanced over the same students--we're leaning strongly towards homeschooling DD.
post #19 of 21
As far as primary grades are concerned...

In my classroom are a whole range of ages- the majority of my students' birthdays are March and April, with a handful in December, and the rest are scattered about.
I have a few November/December birthdays- these kids have been 6 since the fall. I also have a few June/July birthdays- these kids will end kindergarten before they turn 6.

Of the December birthdays, one student has had to be evaluated, and another is one of my higher level reading groups.

Of the June/July birthdays, one student has had to be evaluated, and another is one of my higher level reading groups- the same group as the December birthday child!

Ultimately I think it depends on the kid. I know my coworkers groan when they see summer birthdays, but so far, I've seen an even distribution. You know your child the best- you know if they will be able to last the day, and be actively engaged in their environments, and you also know the level of participation you will have with their learning process. You'll do what's best for your child, as no one in the world knows them as well as you do!

Good luck with your decisions!

Clara
post #20 of 21
My oldest is only in kindergarten so obviously this comes with a grain of salt. DS1 has a July birthday and I was really torn, because many people around here do hold their children back and ds1 is small for his age. However, over the summer before school he taught himself to read and so we sent him. He loves school. I think that if we had waited we would have missed an educational window of opportunity. DS1 has always been a task oriented kid who could focus very well. That being said there is a great little boy in his class who is having a heck of a time. The cut off is Oct 1 and his bday is in Sept. He is a sweet kid but he has to be moving all the time and has little attention span. At the beginning of the year, his mother commented that they would just repeat kindergarten if they needed to. The thing is he hates school. I can't help but think that she should of just held him out of school or send him to a relaxed preschool for this year. I am of the mind that how a child feels about school is very important in how they will do. I can't see how this child won't feel strange, knowing that all of his classmates are now in 1st grade and he is again in kindergarten. I would avoid setting my child up for that.
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