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Author Topic: Holding Kids Back
Christine
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I have a complaint.

With the start of the new school year, I keep running into parents whose children are five but who have decided not to send them to kindergarten this year. It seems to be the new vogue thing to do -- holding your kids back. And I'm not just talking about kids who barely made the cutoff and just aren't ready -- I mean any child with a birthday between March and August whose parents decided they wanted their kid to be older than everyone else. Many, if not most of these parents made the decision to hold their kids back before their children could walk or talk, some as soon as they knew they would deliver a baby in summer or late spring.

Before I became a parent I kind of thought the practice was silly and doing a bit of a disservice to the kids being held back since they would have to be in school longer. I personally hoped for a summer baby so they would start school as soon as possible (I missed wildly with my first, who is a November baby, and marginally with my second, who is a May baby).

At one point in my life I would have been hugely annoyed at having a child who just missed the cutoff and had to wait a whole year to go to school. Now, I think, I've accepted the idea that you have to put the cutoff somewhere. You don't want children of too wildly different ages and maturity levels in the same grade together.

But the problem is they're not enforcing this idea both ways. A child born on September 1st in my school district (and I think my state, for that matter), must wait until the year they turn 6 to go to school. A child born on August 31st may go to school the year they turn 5 OR else they can wait until the next year. Worse, we've got parents with children born as early as March and April who decide to wait until their children are fully 6 years old to go to school.

So now what we have is a situation in which any given grade may have children as far apart as a year and half in age -- not just a year. This is particularly unfair to summer babies who were already to be the youngest in the class.

And there is such a huge difference between 5 and 6. I mean, they've lived 20% longer.

Just the other day I talked to a mom whose child turned 4 in August who has pre-determined that he will not go to kindergarten next year. In this case, I'm familiar with the kid and I can't think of any reason he shouldn't go to school with his age group next year. She just wants him to have that extra edge -- be the biggest (for athletics) and the most mature (for academics). It came up the other day when I mentioned my son wouldn't go to kindergarten for another 2 years because his birthday is in November, and she said her son would be going the same year. And compared to my son, that's only a 3 month difference, no big deal. But my May daughter is going to be measured against children not just 9 months older than she is, but also against children who are 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 months older!

So that's my complaint. I cannot get it through to people why I dislike this practice -- they all think I should just be grateful that I had a boy in November (people are much more inclined to hold their boys back) and that it's ok for a girl to be born in May (although I've had people question me about holding her back -- almost certainly not and if I did, I wouldn't prejudge her at the age of 15 months!) I have probably failed to explain myself again today, but I wanted to get this off my chest. With the start of school I feel like I'm being immersed in it again.

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katharina
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It doesn't work. I wish I could remember where I read the article and the studies it cites, but basically, holding your kid back to give them an edge doesn't work. If there is any edge at all in the first couple of years, it dissapears by third grade.

If a kid is ready, waiting until a year after they are of age doesn't put them ahead a year. It just means they were bored and unchalleged for a year and now might be 19 or almost 20 before they graduate from high school. And it isn't like the kids themselves think they are super-sized 5 year olds - they know they are a year older. They aren't dumb. "Being held back" still holds the stigma that they can't keep up with kids their own age. Not a good message.

No long term advantage to them, and no long term disadvantage to your kids for being with them. Except, of course, your kids are less likely to get bored and they will graduate from high school while still teenagers.

So, I agree it's not fair, but I wouldn't worry a whole lot about it.

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Xavier
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I was the second youngest student in my graduating class, with a birth-date of October 1st. My best friend was older than me, but in the grade below me.

I was pretty awkward socially in high school, and I wonder if another year of maturity would have done me some good.

I also played on the hockey team. I got some playing time as a junior and was pretty good as a senior. Another year and I believe I'd have excelled.

On the whole though, I'm not sure these things would have been worth graduating a year later. I was very happy to get out of high school when I did.

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Christine
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I read an article about this a year ago which actually said that the differences don't disappear entirely until grade 8, although I think they are largely gone much sooner than that (possibly by grade 3, but I can't remember). The article did spin this to sound like a negligible difference and in the grand scheme of things, I imagine they were right.

They further pointed out a number of problems with the decision to hold a child back -- the stigma of having been held back was way up there and I imagine that would be huge. I remember one parent telling me that her son, who started kindergarten at 6, was telling a bunch of people why he was held back a year and she was trying to correct his impression that he hadn't been good enough to start kindergarten.

But for the younger children in the class, the article did suggest there was a problem: that an increasing number of younger kids are being diagnosed with behavior and learning problems early in their academic careers because they are being compared to much older students.

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Fractal Fraggle
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Elementary school and high school are just the jump-off points for your life. I wouldn't want my kid to have to spend extra time there unnecessarily. Being better than the other kids at academics or sports might get you some scholarships for college but then you actually have to be better than the other kids at academics or sports, not just older than the other kids. Being bigger or older doesn't actually give you talent.

I'm with you, Christine. I always wondered why they don't enforce the cutoff in both directions. Our cutoff here is Sept. 1. And I can easily see a situation where a kid is born Sept. 2 but is ready for school (both mentally and socially) but can't go, no exceptions. Why should somebody whose kid is born in June get the option to keep him out? (Unless, of course, there is some documented disability where another year really would help)

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Traceria
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As a kid who started kindergarten at age 4, graduated at 17 and had to have their parents sign forms for college because she wasn't technically an adult... I don't know, I guess it bugs me that they started enforcing the cutoff (my birthday is in November, but they weren't strict about it in 1984, I guess) but yet allow people to manipulate the system like this. For a kid whose birthday is within days to a week of the cut off, if people agree the child is mature enough in more than one facet or just the opposite, be a little lenient by evaluating the kid (edit) by request, but to allow parents to hold back kids months and months out for no good reason is just...words fail me.

I say this as someone who was not only one of the youngest in her class each year but who ended up being in what were called GT (gifted and talented) level classes by the end of elementary school. What about those kids?

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Papa Moose
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We had to think about this ourselves. The cut-off here is the first week of December (4th maybe?), and Superstation's birthday is mid-November. If he were two weeks younger he couldn't have gone into kindergarten last year, but as it was we had to choose.

I saw kids in Mooselet's kindergarten class who weren't ready for kindergarten. I've seen them continue to struggle through first and second grade. I didn't want Superstation to have to go through that. And part of the difficulty choosing for us is that the decision had to be made in March whether or not we wanted to register him for pre-K. At that point there was no way he would have been ready for kindergarten, but who knows what six more months would do?

So we put him in pre-K. He excelled, and was definitely ready for kindergarten this year -- maybe too ready? He still has a lot of basic skills to refine -- fine motor control and not getting upset too easily. If we'd put him in kindergarten a year earlier, he might be a little better at those things now, but the trade-off wouldn't have been good for anyone -- including other kids in his class.

I recognize that there's a difference between what we decided and what you (Christine) are talking about. But for kids on the cusp, it's not always an easy decision.

Of course, I'm not too fond of the comparing my kid against other kids thing, either (though when they do well I'm less not-fond of it -- the curse of a proud parent). And my encouragement for them is not that they do best in their class, but that they do their best. I don't like that we're trained from infancy to value ourselves based on comparison with others, but I recognize it as a reality of adult life, and so my kids need to learn how to deal with it.

Dude, I honestly wonder sometimes if I don't have some form of adult-onset ADD, because I rarely remember by the end of a post what I intended to talk about when I started.

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Fractal Fraggle
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I'm not against the parents having a say in whether their kid is ready to go to school or not. I think it just bugs me that the cutoff date is only applied one way.

It might help with kids on the cusp if maybe there was a range of dates (Say August 1 - Oct. 31 or whatever) where the parents could choose one way or the other depending on their kid's particular situation. And if you want to hold back or push ahead beyond those dates you'd have to really fight it.

I have a summer baby who makes the cutoff so I don't really have to worry about it (although I think it's weird that he might be in class with a bunch of kids who are a year older than him or even more!).

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Papa Moose
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My nephew (who will turn 5 at the end of October) just started kindergarten. I think it must be a private school or a co-op or something, because apparently there are only 7 kids in his class. I wonder how much of a difference that might have made in our decision.
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scholarette
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My brother and I were both summer babies and my parents to this day are glad that they held my brother back. He was the end of june and his maturity level was very low. I doubt based on his maturity any teachers realized he was a bit older. And even at graduation, he really was not ready to be an adult. Of course, the decision was based on his personality, not some attempt to get an advantage.

One thing that annoys me is the pressure on kids to perform. Parents seem to be trying to get an advantage, to have their kids reading at the youngest age, etc. I have trouble because there is a very competitive side to me. Keeping in mind that kids should have time to be kids and grow up can be hard. My preschool is more based on play time and social skills, while their is another one that is considered more academic. I spend a lot of time defending my choice to send her to the one I did. People assume I just couldn't get in the "good" school. It has a long waiting list.

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Christine
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Papa Moose -- that is the latest cut-off I have ever heard! I can see why you would struggle with a decision about whether or not to have a 4-year-old who won't turn 5 for months start kindergarten. The latest cut-off I ever heard was the first week of October.

I'm curious what criteria educators use to establish these cut-offs. August 31st seems like a natural one to me -- essentially the kids need to be 5 by the day they start classes. (Although actually classes start a week or two before the end of August so there may be a couple still 4...but the start day varies from year to year and it's probably best to keep the cut-off date firm.)

But actually, if the cut-off here were the first week in December and my son beat it by about 2 weeks, I would send him to kindergarten next year at the age of 4. And he's currently on an IEP in pre-school for speech delays. I just know that in a few years it will all even out and it will be best for him to be with his closest age-mates. And he really surprised me when he started pre-school last year, two days after his 3rd birthday. I think that cinched it for me. It was my worries and fears that he wasn't ready to get on a bus and go to school. He did great!

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erosomniac
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I will admit that I have not even the slightest idea why this matters. Probably half of my friends in high school were held back a year, and neither they nor the rest of us cared.

Our public school system also sorted kids by calendar year, not by academic year: January to January was one grade.

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malanthrop
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There are two things to consider mental and physical development. My birthday is late July and as such, I graduated at 17. Academically and socially I did fine but as an athlete my senior year I realized I was competing against kids as old as 19. Two years of physical development into adulthood is a significant advantage.
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solo
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The cutoff here is the end of February. My own kids were born in September and October so it wasn't an issue for us. I have two nieces born in February and one of them started Kindergarten at 4 and she was totally ready for it and has done very well. The parents of the other niece decided not to put her in Kindergarten this year and I'm not sure why exactly but she's close enough to the cutoff that I totally respect her parents decision. They know her better than I do and I know it has nothing to do with getting an edge on her classmates. I've actually never heard of people doing that before.
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Lyrhawn
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My brother and I were both summer babies. I don't think my mom could have held me back if she had wanted to. She said I pestered her on a daily basis when I was four about signing me up for school, and she was thrilled when I finally got to go as it finally shut me up.

My brother on the other hand was held back in kindergarten because he didn't play well with others. I was 17 when I graduated, and he was 19 when he graduated. He was really good in all the sports he played, but I'm not sure how much his age was a factor. He wasn't any bigger than the other guys. Academically it wasn't an advantage. He's smart but extremely lazy, and did the bare minimum to graduate (a trend he has continued in college, despite my protests and offers of studying help).

Comparing the two of us is hard. We're like night and day when it comes to a great deal of things, and I don't think it had that much to do with when we entered school, but it really skews any sort of comparison.

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scifibum
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We held our kid back a year. He was old enough by three weeks to attend when 5, but we didn't think he was ready. He had been going to preschool and had a lot of trouble participating and following instructions. He had known his ABCs and numbers for a long time already...it was all about his behavior. So we worked with him for a year and this year it's going great, as far as I can tell. He loves it and he brings home evidence of his participation every day. (I guess I'll know for sure when we meet with the teacher, or start getting notes sent home.)

I was torn about the decision. We eventually decided whatever stigma came with being the oldest kid in the class would probably be less bad that struggling and becoming convinced that he belonged in that niche.

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Papa Moose
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(Just found out my nephew is indeed doing private kindergarten this year, and will be going into public kindergarten next year, so it seems like a more advanced preschool.)

I think if Superstation had already been in preschool for a year we might have put him in kindergarten, but going from full-time at-home to full-day kinder seemed like a huge jump. When Mooselet went to kindergarten it was only half-day.

I haven't yet been concerned about the academic readiness of the kids. It was the social and emotional readiness that was a bigger deal, and Mooselet (at 5-1/4) was ready, where Superstation (at 4-3/4) was not. In our opinion, of course. And while Superstation probably could have caught up in time, we had always been looking at it from the "pushing him ahead" standpoint rather than the "holding him back" standpoint. If it becomes clear that he's ready, they can always have him skip a year. I think that's a better choice/rechoice than going the earlier year and having him repeat a grade (no, I'm not saying one would happen -- just saying the side toward which we'd tend to err).

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rivka
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We didn't hold back my youngest (end of September birthday; Dec. 1 cut-off), and later regretted it. She eventually ended up repeating the year, and still has issues with her reading, which I think are largely because she was not ready for it when it was pushed on her.

No, I'm not bitter. [Razz]

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BlackBlade
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I started kindergarten when I was 5 but just about a month into 2nd grade my parents didn't feel I was ready for it so they put me back in 1st grade. It seemed to work well for me, I was alot more confident in 2nd grade the second time around and I meet some fantastic people in my grade throughout the years that I would have missed had I been a year ahead. But then again, who know who I failed to meet?

I think it was the right decision for me, but kids are vary greatly.

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brojack17
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I have a daughter whose birthday is early August. This meant she was just 4 when she started Pre-K. Her teachers said all year long that she was keeping up with the work but lacked in her maturity. At the end of the year, the sent her on because she mastered all the Pre-K skills. They said she may have a problem in K.

Well, she did. Again, she was doing the work, but not at the right maturity level. We held her back this year and she is repeating K. At first she was bothered by it, but her best friend stayed behind too (same situation).

I had a bigger problem with it than she did.

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lem
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This if a very current topic for me and my wife. We have a 5 year old whose birthday is in July, the cut off date is September first. We are so glad he was born before September because he would be so bored now. He is ready for Kindergarten.

We have a daughter who turns two this month (September). She missed the cut off and will have to wait until she is 6! I can't imagine the horror for her. She will be so bored that last year.

We wanted our kids to start at 5 as we think they are more then enough ready. Our third child was due August 31st. It is the 3rd and she still isn't born--be expecting a Hatrack announcement soon tho!

Because my wife was 7 days and 4 days late with our two other children, we scheduled our third to be induced August 28 to make sure our baby could start at age 5. I can't imagine intentionally waiting a year. Different strokes I guess.

We don't have a baby yet because after some thought and internet study we decided that the risks of inducement far outweighed the benefit of our daughter starting school at 5 instead of 6. Here we have a post about parents intentionally holding kids back. Strange.

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Christine
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lem: I would be tempted to induce too rather than have a baby miss the cut-off by a week or two. It's really unfair that they enforce the cut-off one way and not the other....on day late and your choices disappear.

That said, and I don't know what the rules are in your state, but I found a loophole in my state. (Kansas) I don't plan to use it because I'm ok with my son going to kindergarten at 5, 6 the following November, but here's what I could do if I wanted: If a child transfers in from another school, they take that child in their current grade, regardless of birth date. So if you enrolled your child in an out-of-state home school curriculum for kindergarten at the age of 5, you could then transfer them into a first grade near you at the age of (nearly) 6.

Also, there are often private schools that will work with you.

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Strider
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I have a mid October birthday and I think my mother could've chosen to hold me back if she wanted, but it was a small private school, and I was already in their nursery program and I don't think she ever seriously considered the option. Especially because I had already been in "class" with the same group of people for 2 years coming into kindergarten.

So like others, I graduated high school at 17(and entered college at 17) and was almost always the youngest student in my class. I never felt like I struggled with class work or had any adverse affects from being younger than everyone though.

Looking back now the only thing I can say is that it probably would've been nice to have an extra year of physical development for sports competition. I was one of the top runners in my state senior year and it would've felt great to have my 18 year old self still able to compete at the same level.

Still, I wouldn't trade it. Holding a kid back solely for a hypothetical advantage 10 years later in sports competition seems unnecessary.

edit - an interesting related story is that in 3rd grade I lost the ability to get to my school and had to transfer to a public school in the area. They wanted to move me up a grade and my mom pulled me out and worked out a way to get me to my other school because she didn't want me THAT much younger than everyone else. Thanks Mom!

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Vincent1
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This reminds me of the new teach you baby to read videos. I know parents want to give their children every advantage possible, but at some point are your really doing what is best for your child or what you want to brag about. I'm guessing you could give your baby an advantage by having them memorize words off a video, but I've heard they forget it if you don't keep doing it. Is a child who is not ready to be potty trained ready to really ready to start learning abstract concepts? Who does this benefit? I would say the parents who get to go around bragging about how smart their baby is.

It's the same thing with holding kids back. If the child is not ready then hold your child back, but if you are holding them back so your kid can be the biggest or smartest kid in their class so you can brag about it shame on you. Everyone has different talents and abilities. One more year is not going to make them smarter or more athletic. If they are going to be a genius they will be, if they are the next Jordan or Woods they will be regardless which class they are in.

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neo-dragon
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I wasn't actually held back, my mom just taught me at home until I was old enough to go straight to grade 1. I guess that's not such a big deal though. In any case, I don't understand why anyone would want their kind to start, and therefore finish school a year late. Don't you want them to be with kids their own age?
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Shan
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I started my son at six and elected to have him repeat grade K a second time. Socially and emotionally he was not ready for the next step. Health issues and multiple hospitalizations played some role in my decision, but I would have been inclined to a slower pace anyhow.

We push kids too hard too early on -- parents are on the money to give it a bit more time, I think. And it's different for diffeent kids, of course. some are super ready for that wee bit more challenge -- let's definitely give it to them!

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CaySedai
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I wish I had considered holding my older daughter back or having her repeat kindergarten. She has struggled with school all along.

She's 16 and has a July birthday, so if she had been held back she would be 18 when she graduated. As it is, she refused to attend school this year and said her dad (who didn't gratuate from high school) would homeschool her. Of course, I can't allow that [Roll Eyes] so I'm adding homeschooling an unmotivated teen to my full-time job and 12 hours of college classes. (One of my classes is flexnet, so I have to motivate myself as well.)

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Shan:

We push kids too hard too early on -- parents are on the money to give it a bit more time, I think. And it's different for diffeent kids, of course. some are super ready for that wee bit more challenge -- let's definitely give it to them!

I have to disagree with this. I think what is happening is that parents are projecting their own desires, beliefs, and prejudices on their kids instead of letting their children take the lead and show them what they need. For example, a friend of mine held her son back because her husband wished he had been held back, not because the little boy in question needed to be held back. As if that could make up for a wrong choice made a generation ago.

On the flipside, there are parents desperate to get their babies to say the alphabet on their first birthday with programs like, "Your Baby Can Read!" What nonsense. Pushing kids like that may get you some early bragging rights but long run it is likely to backfire because your children are following your agenda rather than you following theirs. When children are ready to learn the alphabet, they'll let you know, and in the long run it doesn't mean a thing if they could say it at 18 months or 5 years. IMO, it's far more important that they enjoy reading than that they learn to do it young.

But when it comes to starting children in kindergarten at the age of 5 with their peer group, I still think that most of the time the right choice is to go for it. Worst case, you hold them back and have them repeat kindergarten. But if you hold them back and that turns out to have been a mistake there is almost no way to undo it.

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DSH
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Homeschoolers never have these "start 'em now or hold 'em back" conversations. [Big Grin]
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scholarette
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quote:
Originally posted by DSH:
Homeschoolers never have these "start 'em now or hold 'em back" conversations. [Big Grin]

Well from the studies I have seen, I think it is clear homeschooled kids do not pay any attention to grade level. (To clarify, the studies showed that the homeschool kids were scoring 2 grade levels above their age).
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
Worst case, you hold them back and have them repeat kindergarten. But if you hold them back and that turns out to have been a mistake there is almost no way to undo it.

I was with you until this.

First of all, holding back a kid and having them repeat kindergarten IS A BIG DEAL. Not as big a deal as repeating 1st or second, but nonetheless.

And if a kid is too advanced for their grade, skipping is often an option. While it has some drawbacks too (I missed several things, although that was partly because I switched schools at the same time), it is not as detrimental to a kid's self-esteem or social position as being held back.

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DaisyMae
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I've read this thread with great interest as this is a decision I'll be facing soon.

My little boy turned 4 in late July, so technically he should be starting K next year.

He's in a twice a week preschool right now and academically he is doing great. He's great at memorization and grasps concepts quickly.

However, he is tiny, 10% for weight for his age. He potty-trained pretty late, and sometimes rejects social interaction. And while his vocabulary and grammar are awesome, he still has trouble saying his r's, which I think sometimes makes others perceive him as younger than he is.

I'm torn because I think if I wait he'll be academically bored, but if I send him he might struggle socially/physically.

At this point we are using how he does in preschool as a guage, but I think if I had to make the decision right now I'd wait a year.

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by DaisyMae:

However, he is tiny, 10% for weight for his age. He potty-trained pretty late, and sometimes rejects social interaction. And while his vocabulary and grammar are awesome, he still has trouble saying his r's, which I think sometimes makes others perceive him as younger than he is.

A great many pre-school aged kids are still not pronouncing words perfectly. There is a noticed improvement once they start school. As one speech and language person told me (my son is getting speech services), once they start school a lot of kids go from talking so only mom and dad can understand to talking so everyone can. So I personally wouldn't worry about r's. Although if you are worried, you can always get a speech therapist to work with him on his r's.

My son is also skinny (below 10th percentile) and it seems like a pretty cruel reason to hold him back, to be honest. Maybe I'm just getting a bit defensive about my skinny boy! (Mommy thing.) I have to think, though, that if he's academically ready that it would hurt a child to be told they aren't physically big enough to go to school.

If he's potty trained now, he didn't potty train that late. A lot of boys don't potty train until 3-4. In fact, 3 is *average* for a boy. (2.5 is average for a girl.)

As far as socialization goes...I don't know. I had socialization problems in school but it never once even remotely occurred to me as a tiny possibility that holding me back a year would have helped. (I have a June b-day.) I can think of a few things that would have helped, but waiting a year to go to school would probably have made things worse...I had self-esteem issues as it was. The painful shyness didn't help matters, either, and that didn't go away the next year, or the year after that, or the year after that... [Smile]

Anyway, I have no idea if any of that is relevant in your case but that's my experience.

[ September 04, 2009, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: Christine ]

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
Worst case, you hold them back and have them repeat kindergarten. But if you hold them back and that turns out to have been a mistake there is almost no way to undo it.

I was with you until this.

First of all, holding back a kid and having them repeat kindergarten IS A BIG DEAL. Not as big a deal as repeating 1st or second, but nonetheless.

And if a kid is too advanced for their grade, skipping is often an option. While it has some drawbacks too (I missed several things, although that was partly because I switched schools at the same time), it is not as detrimental to a kid's self-esteem or social position as being held back.

I've never known a single child who was given the option to skip a grade. I've known plenty who could have benefited from it, but as far as I can tell, schools do not accept this as a real possibility. It sounds like you were given the option, which is rare...but I just haven't had or seen this experience.

It would be an easier decision to make if I thought skipping ahead were an option. Then erring on the side of holding them back makes sense, because if they needed to be held back then you've slightly shielded their self-esteem and if they end up needing to go forward, that may even be a self-esteem boost.

I don't know...sometimes I think warning signs look bigger in hindsight. All we can do is make the best decisions we can at the time.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I've never known a single child who was given the option to skip a grade.
I skipped several.
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rivka
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Whether skipping is an option is definitely school- and/or district-dependent. Anecdotally, it is also more common in private schools. I attended private schools, as did my siblings, two of whom also skipped grades. (At a different school than I did.)
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scholarette
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One of my friends has decided to home school recently. Her son was extremely bored and this was beginning to cause problems (nothing serious, but enough that she figured the situation could not continue). Her first choice was to skip a grade, however the school was not happy about that and made everything very difficult- for example, they required tests, but they would tell her nothing about the tests- like general subject matter. Her plan is to homeschool for a year (during which time they are planning to move) and then enroll in a new school district listing his grade as one higher. For home schooling, she is teaching the higher grade level, so this makes a lot of sense. But, yeah, a lot of kids are not given the option of skipping ahead and the schools seem to dislike the idea. My parents would never skip me ahead because they didn't want my brother and I to be in the same class- they thought having his little sister (by 2 years) in the same grade would hurt his self esteem.
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Fractal Fraggle
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Are schools getting back to letting kids skip grades? I know when I went through, my school district absolutely forbade kids from skipping grades because it was felt that it would ruin their socialization. Smart kids could go in to the GATE program but they had to stay with their age-mates. But that was a long time ago. I have no idea whether skipping ahead is still forbidden in that district.

I would have a very hard time holding my kid back for social reasons unless I had the option to later bring him back to his age-mates, (if/when he surmounted his social issues and was ahead academically). I'm not saying I wouldn't do it or that other people shouldn't, but just that I would have to be convinced that whatever socialization issue he was having would be cured by waiting another year, and that he wouldn't end up bored out of his mind academically.

edit: It took me so long to finish this post that it looks like my initial question was answered.

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ketchupqueen
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Honestly I don't understand why exactly other parents doing this bothers you.
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Fractal Fraggle
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
Honestly I don't understand why exactly other parents doing this bothers you.

I can't tell if this is a general "you" to the forum that just happens to follow my post or if it was aimed at my post in particular. It's hard to tell when you can't rely on the tone or body language.

For myself: It's really none of my business how other people raise their kids. And while (in real life) I don't butt in unless there's a danger to the kid, I do have opinions on all sorts of topics. In my post I was trying to make sure that I was only stating my opinion and not what other people should have to do, sorry if it came off otherwise.

The only real problem I have with this topic is that the cutoff date isn't allowed to slide both ways. It doesn't seem fair. As others have pointed out (and which had never occurred to me), there are loopholes such as enrolling your kid in private school or homeschooling.

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Papa Moose
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
Honestly I don't understand why exactly other parents doing this bothers you.

I can understand it in that, as mentioned in the first post, ". . . my May daughter is going to be measured against children . . . who are 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 months older!" It's the comparative aspect that can be "unfair," and a concern. However, in my experience thus far, there doesn't seem to be all that much comparative nature (gradewise) with other students, but in comparison to past performance and predetermined grade-level standards. Methinks that will change in later years, but at this point it doesn't affect academic standing. Quite possible that it makes a difference depending on the teacher, principal, district, state, etc. And it's very possible that it affects things subconsciously -- that's a possibility in nearly everything.
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ketchupqueen
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See, that's always been my experience with schools-- they compare each student to their own work/performance, not to other students. It's part and parcel of being in a public school to have students of varying abilities in a class. Every study I've read about says that benefits and detriments to kids going to school early or late compared to their peers disappears by 8th grade or so, and it's not until high school that kids really start to compete against each other, grade-wise, if my experience is anything to go by.
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Christine
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I guess I first became concerned when I read an article that suggested to me that younger students are increasingly being diagnosed with learning and behavior disorders because they are being compared with children so much older. In an ideal world of course teachers would compare each student only to his/her past work, but I'm not sure that's what happens in real life.

The thread has since wandered quite a bit, but that was my initial concern.

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Sala
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quote:
So now what we have is a situation in which any given grade may have children as far apart as a year and half in age -- not just a year.
With different states having different cut-off dates for starting school, and with the retention of students who don't pass the state test in third grade (in Georgia "mandatory" retention for those who don't pass reading in 3rd grade, reading and math in 5th and 8th . . . mandatory in quotes because if the school teacher/parent/admin team decides it's in the best interest of the student to not retain, then it isn't done) then you can end up, as I did last year with my fourth grade class, with kids ranging in age from 8 to 11 at the start of the year, and 9 to 12 at the end of the year. It isn't comparison of child to child, but rather, as Papa Moose said, "comparison to past performance and predetermined grade-level standards." Some of my oldest kids were just as immature as some of my youngest, and some of my younger ones were more mature than the rest of the class. Every child is so individualistic, it's difficult to compare with others as to whether to hold them back or not. Some of the littlest ones in my class have done very well, while others might have benefited from an extra year of growth.
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maui babe
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:

I've never known a single child who was given the option to skip a grade.

I don't know if they do it anymore but I did, back in the dark ages. The school wanted to skip my sister too, but my mother wouldn't let them cuz she had an Oct birthday and would have graduated at 16 if she'd skipped.
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Shan
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
I guess I first became concerned when I read an article that suggested to me that younger students are increasingly being diagnosed with learning and behavior disorders because they are being compared with children so much older. In an ideal world of course teachers would compare each student only to his/her past work, but I'm not sure that's what happens in real life.

The thread has since wandered quite a bit, but that was my initial concern.

Well, I work in the early learning field, and from what I can tell, the learning and behavior disorders have more to do with what we are requiring at these young ages, than the age at which a child "enters" formal schooling.

For example -- you can pull out my grade K report card from 1973. The focus was on socialization (taking turns, sharing, cleaning up after oneself); developing good work habits (following directions, completing assigned tasks, turning them in, etc) and a smidgeon of "cognitive" -- i.e., writing one's full name using block printing, reciting and writing the alphabet, counting sequentially, learning to handle the tools of learning (pencils, crayons, scissors, folding, drawing, etc).

Nowadays, in grade K we are forcing the issue of reading, writing in pre-cursive, adding and subtracting -- stuff that frankly was 1st grade curriculum.

I hear over and over from preschool and grade K teachers that the trickle-down of upper level testing has intensely and in many ways negatively impacted our early learners.

It's an interesting conundrum -- and no one answer or approach works for all families or children, by any means.

Anyway -- I don't think it's the "comparison" -- it's being submerged in skill development and learning that really is not age or developmentally appropriate.

IMHO.

[Smile]

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Christine
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Shan: You may have a point. I recently took a look, out of curiosity (since my son starts in 2 years and I want to know what he needs in prep), at my school district's curriculum goals for kindergarteners. I was pretty surprised that by the end of the year, they will apparently be writing stories and journal entries. I pretty much remember learning the alphabet in kindergarten, how to write my name, and a few simple sight words. We didn't really start learning to read and write until first grade.

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not. I imagine that for some kids it is, and for others it's a disaster. It certainly makes pre-school more important, though, because that's where you need to get intro to socialization and following directions.

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ketchupqueen
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And that really gets my goat, personally. I don't think it's good for kids, frankly.

Hence our decision to homeschool. [Smile]

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Zamphyr
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BBC article Is August 31st the worst day to be born ?
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Zamphyr:
BBC article Is August 31st the worst day to be born ?

This is an interesting article, though I don't see how it really helps anything. It suggests that the youngest kids in the class are at a disadvantage but someone has to be the youngest. If you back up the kindergarten cut-off to needing to be 5 by May 31st, then suddenly March-May babies are the youngest and at a disadvantage.

It does heavily suggest that there is quite a bit of comparison that goes on between kids, which I really couldn't see any way around. It's human nature to make comparisons.

What I find interesting is that I would guess the differences really fade away to nothing by the end of elementary school -- but early encouragement/discouragement still weighs heavily on a child's self-concept.

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