Help - should my almost 6 yr old son repeat kindergarten? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-16-2004, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know this is a dilemma for so many people and everyone has their own idea about it. My son is almost 6 years old, his birthday is 10 days before the cutoff for school. We decided to put him through Kindergarten last year because his preschool teachers thought he was ready and would be bored with another year of preschool. He completed the year and his teacher said he should definitely go on to 1st grade. (he is the youngest kid in his class. The other Aug birthdate boy is repeating). He wasn't at the top of his class academically, but he wasn't at the bottom either. Socially he is very mature, that has never been a problem.
My issue is this: tons of people keep telling me that while he may be fine now, it's down the road that he may have issues -in junior high and highschool. They all say, why not give him that extra edge, build up his confidence, etc. His teacher thinks he'll be bored if he repeats, and the principal is strongly against it.
I don't know of anyone who has held back or repeated that regrets their decision. But can it hurt him to be the oldest, and he may end up feeling inadequate anyway because his friends moved on and he didn't??
Some people have said to go into 1st grade and see how he does. But again, it's the down the road issues I'm concerned about.
Does anyone have any advice or thoughts on this? I need to decide soon, school starts in two weeks. Thank you!
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Old 08-16-2004, 06:40 PM
 
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Well...if there doesn't seem to be a problem now, maybe it would be better to wait and see if there's a problem later. My husband repeated third grade because his parents felt he needed to be a little more mature--I never pressed about the details but he's a very sensitive person and his birthday is in early September and I guess he wasn't doing well in the peer group he was in. His family was moving between school years and he was starting at a new school anyway so it wasn't like his friends were moving on without him. He talks about it now like it was a positive experience for him, not like he was bothered by being "held back". So I guess what I'm thinking is there is always time down the road to change your son's school situation--so why hold him back pre-emptively if he doesn't seem to need it?
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Old 08-16-2004, 08:14 PM
 
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I am a December birthday, and was always the youngest person in my class (by quite a bit in middle school and high school, since we moved to an area with a much earlier cutoff date). Academically, it was never an issue for me at all, and I think I would have been incredibly bored if I would have been cut back. Socially, it was a little difficult in high school and even through college - I was always the last person to reach every age-based milestone (driver's license, drinking age, etc.) I had other social adjustment issues that may or may not have been related to age/maturity. I think it is a tough call for a parent either way. I wonder if for a boy the physical maturity issues might end up being a bigger issue as time goes on than for a girl. On the other hand, if your son is bored, that could lead to behavioral issues in the classroom. If you think he is academically ready, I'd probably lean in the direction of just sending him on to first grade and let the social issues work themselves out as they will.
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Old 08-17-2004, 05:19 PM
 
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One thing I would take into account is the size of your son (and of your family in general). If he is very much smaller than most of his classmates, I would consider holding him back because being the last to develop can be VERY hard on males. If he is averaged sized and is doing fine I would leave him.

From what I have read, boys who are held back are more likely to become bullies/have behavioral problems. In addition, holding him back would mean an entire year of him being a legal adult (18) while still in high school. That can cause a lot of conflicts.

IMO, there are cut off lines for a reason. Sure, you can go outside of them (early or late) but you should have a specific current reason, not just a vague concern that may or may not apply in the future. Additionally, I think most children's self esteem would take a hit from being held back (esp at this late date). He would probably also miss his friends he has already made.

 

 

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Old 08-17-2004, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all of you who responded. My mother-in-law came into town last night, she was a teacher for 30+ years and was adamant that my son continue on. Now all 3 of you have said for him to go on, too. My son told me he would do whatever my husband and I wanted - that he knew we would choose what's best for him. I think that's a clear sign of maturity. He is on the taller side of the boys in his class, and my family is very tall, so I don't think that height will be an issue (that was a concern of mine - hopefully he won't get a late growth spurt). I recently saw all the kindergarten kids entering this fall and thought they all seemed so young compared to my son. I feel much better now - glad I posted a message. Thanks again.
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Old 08-17-2004, 06:10 PM
 
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Personally, I wouldn't hold him back unless he were having problems now. I don't see the point. I don't understand the holding them back to give them an "edge" mentality.
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:45 AM
 
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Man, I could have written your post, right up to the 6th birthday 10 days before school starts. We are sending him to first grade. There may be problems later, or maybe not. Even though he has met all of his learning milestones and is well behaved, his K teacher still tells us to hold him back. Without really any reason why.

A friend of mine has taught for years. She says that the 'hold 'em back' trend has created a mess in the classroom because now there is a three year spread in age for each grade. This makes it more difficult to meet the needs of each child in a large classroom setting.

Anyone know when/why this whole trend started?
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kari_mom
A friend of mine has taught for years. She says that the 'hold 'em back' trend has created a mess in the classroom because now there is a three year spread in age for each grade. This makes it more difficult to meet the needs of each child in a large classroom setting.

Anyone know when/why this whole trend started?
I think it started in response to pushing kids too soon. 1st grade curriculum has become Kindergarten curriculum, 2nd has become 1st, and so on. Some kids can handle it but others can't. Not so much because of the academics but because they are not physically ready to sit still as required now in 1st grade. Boys especially are late bloomers.

If you feel and the teacher feels that your son is ready, then I would send him on. The other August child must have a different situation. All children develop at different rates.

Good luck! I am sure he will do fine in 1st grade.
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Old 08-18-2004, 06:30 PM
 
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Quote:
I think it started in response to pushing kids too soon.
Yes, but why has the curriculum been pushed back earlier and earlier? It seems to have preceded the proficiency testing craze.

Call me naive, but it seems more logical to plan the curriculum around the kids than to make the kids fit the curriculum.
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Old 08-18-2004, 07:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kari_mom
Yes, but why has the curriculum been pushed back earlier and earlier? It seems to have preceded the proficiency testing craze.

Call me naive, but it seems more logical to plan the curriculum around the kids than to make the kids fit the curriculum.

Hey! That's why we do Waldorf!
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:53 PM
 
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From experience: I held my now 9 yr old DD back in 1st grade because of maturity and I felt that was better then having her repeat 6th grade, like I did because the teachers and principal wouldn't let me stay back in 1st grade-5th grade when my parents begged them (said my mom was babying me to much, but hello? I was 2-3 grade levels behind!) and finally moved and told the new principal I was not going to 7th grade. I was made fun of all through 6th-8th grade years because everyone knew. I was glad to have moved again before 9th grade, but only to discover I had a learning disabilty and wasn't given the right help in earlier years, so therefore barely graduated from high school. I never went to go see what # I was in the graduating class because I was afraid I would be last, and I couldn't take anymore embarressment.

Keep him back. It will be so much better in the long run. My daughter is on the honor roll now. I am glad I held her back.

ETA: She is also the tallest in her class, and she thinks it's great!
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Old 08-22-2004, 03:16 AM
 
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If it were me, I would consider again holding him back. I was four when I started Kindergarten (till October), the youngest in my class. I feel like I was at a disadvantage because of my age, I was just not as mature as my classmates. That never changed, I had a horrible time in school.

It is better to hold him back now & be sure he is ready, easier for a kindergartner to repeat than a 6th or 7th grader, IMO.
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