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Author Topic: Holding Kids Back
Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
And that really gets my goat, personally. I don't think it's good for kids, frankly.

Hence our decision to homeschool. [Smile]

Are you homeschooling now? (I wasn't sure if any of your kids were old enough yet.)

I played with this idea because of a few problems I had with schools, although going too fast was not on the list. I was always bored in school, so I tend to think from that perspective, but either way I guess it's two sides of the same coin: the schools can't individualize education as well as a parent could at home.

I also hate teaching to the tests, the sheer number of hours spent in the classroom instead of out playing (especially for elementary school), and the availability of junk food, just to name a few.

But I'm a lousy teacher. I spend months trying to teach my son his colors. He went to pre-school for a couple of weeks and just knew them all. When I visited his classroom and saw how capable they were, it really cinched my decision that he needed to be at school and I needed to take a backseat roll in his education -- as a supporter and in the future, I hope an enricher.

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

I don't know what Christine's answer to this question would be, but I know mine. We've been over this before so I'm not sure why I bother. Your children's education affects the entire community, not just you and them. As a member of the community, I have a moral obligation toward education of all the children in the community. I know you don't believe that but you are dead wrong. Children aren't the property of their parents and parents don't have the right to do what ever they choose with their children. Children have rights and it is the moral obligation of a community to protect the rights of the child as well as the rights of parents.

If children enter school late, it has an impact on other children and teachers in the classroom. If they are a year older when they graduate from High School, it has an impact on colleges and universities and ultimately on the work force, productivity, tax revenues and so forth.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by DaisyMae:
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.

In many respects, you could be describing my younger brother. Except that his birthday was in October not July so he didn't have the option of starting school when he was four even though he was reading at age four. Although he was one of the oldest in his class, he was still among the smallest and still had to have speech therapy to learn to says his r's properly so don't assume that holding him back will solve those problems. My brother has always wished he could have started school a year earlier. Even now that he has successful completed a graduate degree at a top school and has a great career, he still thinks he wishes he could have started kindergarten a year earlier.
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PSI Teleport
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quote:
But I'm a lousy teacher. I spend months trying to teach my son his colors. He went to pre-school for a couple of weeks and just knew them all.
I don't know if that's your only example to back up your claim that you're a lousy teacher, but let me say that kids frequently learn in the way you described. They plateau. You spend months trying to teach them something, and then all of the sudden something clicks and they get it. It's very possible that your son just reached that plateau in preschool, or having what you'd taught him reinforced by another adult and peer pressure really brought the knowledge home.

I'm just saying, don't take it personally. I did the same thing with my son. I home school him, and we spent his entire first grade year drilling basic addition facts that he couldn't remember for the life of him, giving me the impression that I sucked at teaching. But during the first week of his second grade year, he suddenly knew every single fact, and, not only that, he learned how to add with carrying to the hundred-thousandth place all in one afternoon. It's just what kids do. [Smile]

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
quote:
But I'm a lousy teacher. I spend months trying to teach my son his colors. He went to pre-school for a couple of weeks and just knew them all.
I don't know if that's your only example to back up your claim that you're a lousy teacher, but let me say that kids frequently learn in the way you described. They plateau. You spend months trying to teach them something, and then all of the sudden something clicks and they get it. It's very possible that your son just reached that plateau in preschool, or having what you'd taught him reinforced by another adult and peer pressure really brought the knowledge home.

I'm just saying, don't take it personally. I did the same thing with my son. I home school him, and we spent his entire first grade year drilling basic addition facts that he couldn't remember for the life of him, giving me the impression that I sucked at teaching. But during the first week of his second grade year, he suddenly knew every single fact, and, not only that, he learned how to add with carrying to the hundred-thousandth place all in one afternoon. It's just what kids do. [Smile]

I have noticed my son doing this -- the plateau. This is largely how his speech development worked (he's still receiving special services but it's much better). I remember reading books that suggested what skills to work with at different ages and I'd work and work with him to no avail. Then I'd give up and a month or two later notice that he was doing it with no effort -- stacking blocks, putting together basic puzzles, drinking out of a cup...just a few that I can think of off the top of my head. Recently, it's the alphabet. I tried to work with him on this a year ago (he was showing interest...I wasn't being pushy) but nothing. Now, all of a sudden, he knows all his lower and upper case letters by sight, the sounds they make (well, he's confused about the letters that make more than one sound), and is starting to be able to write them. (Oddly enough, though, he can't sing the alphabet song.)

So you may have a point, but I also think school has been good for him and I know I'm pretty impatient. It's easier for me to be his champion for a few hours a day than it would be for me to encourage him all day, every day, through negligible progress when all I'd want to say is, "Come on, already!" [Smile]

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Teshi
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I wasn't homeschooled, but most of what I learned in elementary school was seeded at home. My mother basically taught me to read and write, even though I was also taught it at school. Trips to museums were never just running about distractions, but informal stop-and-look history or science lessons.

I say this because I think that you don't have to Homeschool your child to homeschool them. You can be a "small h" homeschooler and do reading and writing and colours and math etc. with them.

I'm not a Homeschool fan. I would not have wanted to spend all time at home with the same person and miss out on my time at school for the world. However, my education-at-home has been vital in helping me be as capable as I am.

So keep teaching your kid at home. Although-- I know, I know, I'm no expert at all-- but I was never quizzed. You mention your kid doesn't know all the sounds of all the letters, Christine... maybe it's time for simple words to get some of those different sounds in context?

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

I don't know what Christine's answer to this question would be, but I know mine. We've been over this before so I'm not sure why I bother. Your children's education affects the entire community, not just you and them. As a member of the community, I have a moral obligation toward education of all the children in the community. I know you don't believe that but you are dead wrong. Children aren't the property of their parents and parents don't have the right to do what ever they choose with their children. Children have rights and it is the moral obligation of a community to protect the rights of the child as well as the rights of parents.

If children enter school late, it has an impact on other children and teachers in the classroom. If they are a year older when they graduate from High School, it has an impact on colleges and universities and ultimately on the work force, productivity, tax revenues and so forth.

Exaggerate much?
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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Strider:
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!

I have a friend who is a PhD student starting his fourth year. He turned 18 this summer. People say that cases like his never work, but knowing him, this actually does.
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DaisyMae
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Christine and Rabbit -
Your arguments are both clearly in favor of not waiting another year, which complicates my feelings on the subject. My husband who has an August birthday and was held back lauds the decision made my his parents and likes the idea of having our son wait as well.

But you make some good points...

This will definitely garner a lot of discussion in our household.

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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I have an August birthday, and I was held back from kindergarten.

This was actually because we knew we would be moving out of the state the very next summer, and I might as well get introduced to all my classmates the same time as everyone else, without having the burden of adjusting to a new school that every other student is already familiar with.

The decision was a good one. My kindergarten teacher was the greatest in the land.

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

I don't know what Christine's answer to this question would be, but I know mine. We've been over this before so I'm not sure why I bother. Your children's education affects the entire community, not just you and them. As a member of the community, I have a moral obligation toward education of all the children in the community. I know you don't believe that but you are dead wrong. Children aren't the property of their parents and parents don't have the right to do what ever they choose with their children. Children have rights and it is the moral obligation of a community to protect the rights of the child as well as the rights of parents.

If children enter school late, it has an impact on other children and teachers in the classroom. If they are a year older when they graduate from High School, it has an impact on colleges and universities and ultimately on the work force, productivity, tax revenues and so forth.

Exaggerate much?
Not from my perspective. What do you think is an exaggeration?
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HollowEarth
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Specifically this part of your reply:

quote:
If they are a year older when they graduate from High School, it has an impact on colleges and universities and ultimately on the work force, productivity, tax revenues and so forth.
You really think that this effect is big enough, averaged over the US workforce to be meaningful and this isn't just wild extrapolation? We're not talking about shuttering education for a period of years here. Even if there was some real impact, the idea that this shouldn't be allowed due to the possible loss of future tax revenues is laughable.

I also think that while you have a point, you come across a little overly strong with the rest of it. The borders of the communities interests are a somewhat ill defined in practice. Even if we probably could find some agreed upon subset (ie, the 3 R's).

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DDDaysh
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My thoughts are this - the reason alot of kids are not getting held back that weren't in the past is because Kindergarten is now 1st grade. See, the government thought it would be all smart by mandating K for everyone and forcing advance concepts down, but it ended up making it so that Kindergarten was extremely difficult for alot of children. In fact, if you look at psychological/developmental texts, many of the skills now considered to be K are not expected to be truly "developed" in the brain until age 6 or 7. Therefor, it's not surprising that parents are saying "my kid isn't ready!".

My perspective is this. I have an August 19 birthday (cutoff here is Aug 31st). I would have KILLED my parents had they held me back because I was chomping at the bit to go, and would love to have even been skipped. That wasn't an option for me, mainly because I was the youngest in my grade, tiny for my age, and while I excelled academically I was developmentally delayed physically. In the end though, I ended up skipping grade 10 of high school, and graduating college at 19.

On the other hand, there was 1 boy in our grade (July birthday) who started K with us because his mother voluntarily held him back. We had a variety of others "fail in" later on. I never had a problem being more than a year behind my classmates. It didn't bug me. What DID bug me was ALWAYS turning the 'new age' last - but that was my own darn birthday's fault, not anyone else's.

That being said, I was a far different child than others. The boy in our class who entered K @ 6 with us probably really wasn't ready the year before. He still had alot of separation anxiety that year, and the year before I remember his mother trying to peel him off of her at bible school and it truly not working. He just wasn't ready, and that's the truth.

My son has a December birthday, so I never thought about holding him back for K. When it came right down to it though, I almost did. My son, though academically fine (even ahead of the other kids) is showing ALOT of the signs of not being developmentally ready for school. His teacher even asked me if she'd read his birthday right, because his behavior is so much more indicative of a child several months younger than himself. If he hadn't been a December birthday, but was perhaps a May birthday, there is NO WAY he would be anywhere near ready. As many times as he has to be "redirected" these days, if he'd entered K 6 months ago, it would have been an utter disaster!

Now, my son did have alot of issues as an infant that affected his development. He spend several days with up and down oxygen numbers when he was only a few weeks old, and was on and off a bunch of steroids and other medication for his entire first year of life. Yet, who is to say that this didn't happen to some of the other kids who are 6-year-old K's? I know for a fact that one of the girls in his class who started at 6 (Early summer b-day) was a preemie and has a blood disorder that has required hospitalization multiple times. Who would I be to judge and say she should have started a year ago.

Now, there is a child in Azriel's Kindergarten who is just barely 5. His birthday is August 18 and his parents agonized over whether to send him. Then ended up deciding to let him go. He's doing great! He isn't as academically advanced as my son, but his behavior is more developmentally appropriate. In their case, it seems they made the right call.

I do agree with you, however, that it is unfair that the cut offs only work one way. I think it would be great if a parent could have their child evaluated for early K entry. I think the issue with this is a matter of funding, however, not school system stubbornness. After all, private schools have been allowing advanced 4-year-olds into Kindergarten for YEARS. State's, on the other hand, don't seem to want to fork out money for a child any earlier than they have to, even if it means having to continue to fork out money for a longer time. It stinks, but it's going to be a really hard battle to win. Until then, there are work arounds for parents who think their child is ready for K. Most of them involve doing the first year or two in a private school (or in a state with a later cut off). They have to jump through many more hoops than parents who hold their kids back, but at least they do have the option.

What would be interesting to see is the ACLU take the case of parents suiting the state for reimbursement of this K cost on the basis that the cut offs are, after all, flexible in the backwards direction. That's the only thing I can see that will have any chance in changing the legislation.

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PSI Teleport
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quote:
It's easier for me to be his champion for a few hours a day than it would be for me to encourage him all day, every day, through negligible progress when all I'd want to say is, "Come on, already!"
See, and I agree with this. Even though I strongly support homeschooling for any parent that's interested, I think what really matters, in the end, is being an interested, supportive parent. I mean, if you're involved in how he's doing at school and you can tell he progressing well, and staying mentally healthy, then you're making the right choice.

quote:
I say this because I think that you don't have to Homeschool your child to homeschool them. You can be a "small h" homeschooler and do reading and writing and colours and math etc. with them.
Exactly. Every parent is a teacher, whether or not they try. You can teach disinterest and selfishness by actively teaching nothing. But most parents teach their kids instinctively, and those who take an active role in their children's education in the younger years are certainly giving their kids an advantage.

That said:

quote:
I'm not a Homeschool fan. I would not have wanted to spend all time at home with the same person and miss out on my time at school for the world.
This is probably the least understood facet of homeschooling. Home schooled kids are not forced to stay home all day with one person, nor is it even necessarily encouraged. My kids take Japanese, play basketball, and attend Sunday school, all outside of the home and all with no interference from me. They have plenty of classroom experiences and have made many friends/acquaintances, even though they don't spend an entire day with those acquaintances.

Just an example.

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dawnmaria
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My daughter is starting Kindergarten tomorrow. We decided to start her early. Heb birthday is in October so she missed the cut off here by 23 days. She is ready. Her preschool teachers and I both see that she is ready. She'd be bored in another year of preschool. We're putting her in a private Kindergarten and she'll be able to go to the public school up the street for 1st grade. I am trying to get her involved with the Girl Scout program there this year so the transition next year will be smoother. I hope she is happy with my choice when she gets older. It's so hard knowing the choices you make for them now will have repercussions the rest of their lives, but I have decided I'd rather do now then regret what I didn't do later. We'll see how I feel about that tomorrow when I drop her off for what feels like the longest day ever!
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DDDaysh
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:-) I hope your daughter has fun! My son started K about two weeks ago. Let us know how it goes.
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