Anyone regret not starting child in Kindergarten?? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-22-2005, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son has a late July birthday and the cut off here is August 31. I don't think we are going to send him since he is not that interested in writing/school yet. He is in preschool and does well there, but pretty much blends into the background from what I see. For instance they have journals that they can include work in and he has put ONE thing in all year so far. Others are on second journals already. It is a Reggio Emelia preschool so no worksheets and the children are allowed to do what they want. He mostly plays and does puzzles just like here at home. He is verbally advanced and carries on conversations quite well. Probably about 2 out of 4 days he fights me about going to school. He is a homebody. I guess I am just looking for reassurance that I am doing the right thing. My in-laws are really giving me a hard time about not sending him. IS there anything negative about waiting until he is 6??

Any experienced moms out there? How do you know if they are ready and will do well?

Thanks,
ellen
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Old 03-22-2005, 02:22 PM
 
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I cannot say that I have been through this personally... but redshirting is a widespread pratice here. None of the moms I have talked to regret holding back their kids, mostly boys for a second year of preschool before kindergarten. These boys are larger and test well academically in the new peer group and it seems to work just fine. Except for those of of us with normal size winter born kids who now look "small" compared to these giants.
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:05 PM
 
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That is hard...

I also have the August 31st cutoff - and three daughters with summer birthdays, one who just makes it by a couple of days. I basically believe that if they make it, send 'em; if they don't, wait. I REALLY don't think anyone should test in for kids that just miss the cutoff but that is just me!

My dd1 (July birthday) went because she made the cutoff (had had two years of preschool already as is standard where I live). She did great in preschool, separated fine, loved it. The first few months of kindergarten were ROUGH - she is very bright with a great attention span but the young fives are just not as mature as the older ones and you can't rush maturity! She would get tired and frustrated by the end of the day. Granted, we had to do full day kindergarten (which I DO NOT RECOMMEND!!!!!! - for anyone!) and it did mellow out by January but it was a rough few months.

Now even given that, I will be sending dd2 (end of August birthday) to kindergarten "on time". Why? Because I've seen dd1 go through 1st, 2nd, 3rd grades now. She is in the right class, doing well, just the right spot for her. I can't imagine her in the class below - she would be bored.

The fact that you have to fight him to go to school half the time is a bit worrisome but unless he has some other issues that you didn't mention that would mitigate the situation, if it were me, I'd send him on time. Someone has to be youngest and someone has to be oldest. I think the August cutoff is good (CANNOT understand the states that have December cutoffs!) and given normal circumstances, I'd send 'em if they made the cutoff. I am STRONGLY against testing in the fall birthday kids after seeing my July birthday have a hard time - but I suppose everyone is different so I probably shouldn't say that.

If you do send him, do half day! Does he have any neighborhood buddies going? Is there a kindie open house when they do the registration - you could take him and feel it out? Can you request a teacher - maybe get recommendations from your friends with kids who have gone through?

Oh, and my dd2 (late August birthday - in her second year of preschool now) is not too interested in writing yet. She does write her name and once in a while her sisters' names if I help but mostly draws pictures. I don't think that his lack of current interest in writing means he isn't ready for kindergarten.

Also, I really think kids pick up on our emotions regarding stuff like this. If you are worried and unsure then he will feel that and wonder if it is safe or right for him to be there. I loved school, every minute from kindergarten through college graduation, so my vibes were super positive and my kids have loved school and not had many issues.

You asked if there are any cons to being six in kindergarten. Well, the September birthday kids (who are old in the class naturally) are six within the first week or two. Maybe they are noticeably taller but no big deal there. They obviously have a maturity advantage. Only con I can think of is maybe the kids wondering if he had to repeat a grade since he'll be older than the supposed oldest in the class. The summer birthday kids are always youngest.

I don't think I was any help.... Good luck deciding!
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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I don't have direct experience but my bil & sil kept their youngest back, mostly for socialization reasons. She didn't do preschool & was very attached to my sil. They are very happy with the decision & she is now in 3rd grade & doing very well. They didn't think she was ready & didn't want to force her.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm. I guess I just have to go with my gut on this. We have a meeting with his preschool teachers this week so I am hoping to get more of an idea about what they are thinking would be best. Kristen, thank you for the wonderful reply. Can you tell this is my first child to start school. It is a whole new world. I too loved school growing up and STILL get excited around fall even though I graduated from college 10 years ago!

Thanks for your insight!

ellen
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Old 03-23-2005, 03:59 PM
 
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Ellen---

Just wanted to introduce the idea of holding him, not back, but *out* of kinder. Then, if he is ready the following year for full time school putting him in 1st grade w/his peer group.

DD is very academically advanced, but also was a high needs baby and very attached to me. She took the early entrance test for kinder as a 4 year old, but we have done K and now 1st at home (with lots of supplimental classes). She is now looking forward to school next year, and confident she can be away from me for a whole day (and getting more and more sure daily). Anyway, it would be a joke to put her in K, lol. So, we'll probably put her in a gifted 1st or 2nd grade.

In our state, at least, compulsory school doesn't start until 8 so there are several parents who just don't send their kids to Kinder at all.

 

 

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Old 03-23-2005, 09:01 PM
 
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When we did school, none of my 3 oldest started K before age 6. Two of my children were 6.7 when they started due to how their birthdays fell, and my dd is a late summer b'day, so she was nearly 7 in first grade. They are wonderful and are great kids with no 'learning issues' or anger or whatever. they are normal size, 'excellent students' etc. My current 6 yr old has never stepped foot in a school.

Go by your child.

ETA- once again I forget ages. My children were not 6.7 in K. they were 5.7. One was nearly 7 in first grade.
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Old 03-23-2005, 09:45 PM
 
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I will admit upfront that I am biased toward sending the kids who make the cut-off and are on the young side just b/c it is where my personal experience is. The cutoff where we live has been Sept. 15 for years. My bd is Sept. 15, my older dd is Aug. 29 & my younger one is Sept. 27. They just changed our cutoff to Oct. 1 for next year & we will be sending our dd who will turn 5 on Sept. 27th. My older dd & I (when I was a kid, of course) also started right before our 5th bds.

That said, I do understand that holding out boys who are close to the cutoff is more common than holding out girls & for some may be the right choice. With my girls, I really do believe that we made the right choice to start them when we did (and will be). However, I would have to think that it would be harder on a child to be held back a year after starting than to wait longer to start. If you think that he really needs the time and you may want to re-do kindergarten after one year (which I have heard some people do rather than waiting a year), I might wait.

Just in case it may be of interest to you, the National Assn for the Education of Young Children wrote an article on this topic a bit back. It does support my view of going ahead and starting them, but it may have some info that is of interest to you:
http://www.journal.naeyc.org/btj/200...yingKEntry.pdf
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Old 03-24-2005, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again for the comments. Today is the conference with his preschool teachers so I hope that they can supply some insight. Tired X 2 - I have toyed with the idea of holding him "out" of K. My thinking is that I will just experimentally "homeschool" him for K at home this year. Hoping that he will be more mature and ready for school the following year.

ellen
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:34 PM
 
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I have a friend who did this with her dd - homeschooled for kindergarten, planning to put her in 1st grade the following year at our small, alternative, public school, multi-age program. She did this because there is only full day kindergarten and her dd was a late summer birthday - she knew full day would be tough (and she was right - my dd1 started at the same program when she had just turned five and it was a tough few months adjusting).

Not sure what curriculum she used to HS, but when the following fall came around, her dd ended up being in kindergarten anyway. We (adults who knew the plan) assumed she was in first grade (it is a K/1 class) but the child told us partway through the year that she was in kindergarten - and in fact she was. I assume that that was the level where she was when they got her in the class?

I vote either send him to kindergarten or do another year of pre-K. Many kids who just miss the cutoff do three years of preschool so that is not uncommon - my dd2's preschool is even set up that way, with three classes. If you do decide to homeschool for kindergarten, I'd speak to the 1st grade teacher and see what they expect for start of the year. Even given similar curriculum, there would still be the social adjustment to the classroom situation. It will be interesting to get the preschool teacher's opinion. Is there any way to speak to the kindergarten teacher? Maybe you would get a gut feel to go or to wait if you talked to her too?
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:57 PM
 
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One other thought that I had: It sounds like your son isn't too interested in pre-reading activities yet. Although that is totally fine IMO & I have a good friend whose dd didn't read at all until second grade (and is now at the top of her class in 7th grade), there really does seem to be a big push toward early reading, at least where we live. Those kids who were not reading at least somewhat well by the start of first grade were all put into a "reading recovery" program. Personally, I think that some kids just aren't developmentally ready to read yet in kindergarten & first grade & it may not mean anything about their future reading abilities, but the schools seem to be so concerned about it & I'd hate to see a kid feeling that s/he wasn't smart b/c s/he couldn't read yet.

Both of my girls have been very fortunate that their personal development happens to coincide with what the school expect of them, so they haven't run into that problem. For my first grader, she has always been at the top of her class academically, although she has been the youngest child in the class each year. Like the other poster, I think that she would have been severely bored if we had waited to start her. That was a big concern of mine with younger dd before the cut-off was changed here. She basically taught herself to read & write & I felt that she was going to be so far academically beyond the other kids if she were to wait, that she would develop a bad attitude toward school. Her writing isn't great -- stuff like "I lv kats. I hav a kat," but she is only 4 1/2 & I just can't see her being in pre-k for another year.

The preschool teacher's dd has been in class with my younger dd for the past two years & she has decided to wait another year with her dd (whose bd is in August), but she is going to send her to a home daycare next year rather than another year of pre-k (mom works). Her concern with an extra year of pre-k was that the "pre-kers" all play games where they are trying to "get away from the babies" (i.e. - the preschoolers). She was concerned that her dd would feel like she failed if she wound up spending another year in pre-k with "the babies" and most of her friends went on the kindergarten. She thought that the change to a different setting would make it less obvious that she wasn't going on to kindergarten when the other kids were. But, I guess that it depends on the dynamic at your preschool & how sensitive to it your son would be.

Sorry for the lengthy reply. I've been mulling this subject over a lot!
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Old 03-24-2005, 05:06 PM
 
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I'm so sorry to hear that you're getting pressure that goes against your best maternal instincts. I'm one who wished in retrospect that I had not sent my son to kindergarten so young, even though it was a non-academic one. He simply didn't need to be going off to a school five mornings a week - he would have been much happier at home. I'm not here to try to promote homeschooling, but I put together an article recently to address this sort of question for homeschoolers asking about when to start doing "kindergarten" or "pre-school," and it has some good information about the kind of question you're asking that can be useful to any parent, whether they're sending their kids to school or not:
A Pre-school and Kindergarten Curriculum

I think you're doing exactly the right thing - and I hope you find the confidence to feel really good about your choice.
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Old 03-24-2005, 05:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellemoon
He is verbally advanced and carries on conversations quite well. Probably about 2 out of 4 days he fights me about going to school. He is a homebody. I guess I am just looking for reassurance that I am doing the right thing.
I forgot to mention in my last post some thoughts on this. Sorry - this is my first time posting in this forum, and I'm trying to do it quickly, but this is a subject dear to my heart, so I really want to share some from my own experience.

As I said before, I wished in retrospect that I hadn't sent my son to kindergarten so young, and he was a lot like your son. Very bright, curious, articulate - but not at all interested in having to go to school every day. Looking back, I was able to see that the whole dynamic of automatically sending him to pre-school and kindergarten was quite unnecessary and probably even counter productive to his self confidence and feelings of well being. There was no long lasting harm, but no long lasting benefit either. So what's it all about? Why do we force our children to go through all this?

My son happened to be in a non-academic school at the time, so he wasn't forced to learn the 3 Rs in kindergarten, and he was in that kindergarten for two years, because that's the way that school system prefered to do it. He learned to read shortly before going off to a more academic school at age seven for first grade. Even that was a bit young for him, and if I had it to do over, I'd wait till he was interested. He was put through a lot of aggravation for no good reason. Once we began homeschooling - ater 1st grade, we slowed down and let him progress at his own pace, following his own interets.

He's 22 now and recently scored in the top 2% on the verbal section of the SAT. Even though he was a relatively late reader, he was a voracious reader by his teens, and excelled in community college classes without ever having been put through the standard studies - and is now applying for impressive four year colleges after taking time off to do full time volunteer service in a soup kitchen. He should be able to get into just about any college he wants. I.E.: He's doing just fine! It's not as if he was special or "gifted" - just that he was able to grow into himself and become a confident and self-motivated learner. It's the same with many of his friends who have had similar backgrounds.

The whole business of putting so much pressure on little ones to jump onto the academic track is just crazy! The pressure is getting worse and worse - and I agree with David Elkind in his feeling that a lot of this is just about trying to remediate the educational establishment's failures for older students by pointing our attention to the little ones.
See article: Much Too Early, by David Elkind

End of rant (for now :LOL ) - really got to get some things done around the house! - Lillian
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Old 03-24-2005, 10:45 PM
 
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Lillian thanks for the nice info and links. I'm going to save them for others w/ simi8lar questions.

 
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the links Lillian! Yesterday was our conference. The teachers said that although he is advanced academically he could benefit from another year of preschool for emotional and social reasons. Pretty much what my husband and I thought all along. We've decided to hold him out. Thanks for all the help and different perspectives you have given me!

peace,
ellen
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Old 03-25-2005, 05:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellemoon
Yesterday was our conference. The teachers said that although he is advanced academically he could benefit from another year of preschool for emotional and social reasons.
Wonderful! Oftentimes, they're trying to push them on because of funding considerations. Nice to hear of them being sensitive to the child. - Lillian
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