Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Conundrum of Sorts
California is weird. I'm sure you already knew that, but I'm here to reinforce that statement. In this lovely state a child can start kindergarten when they are 4. They don't have to be 5 till December of that year. I am not sure why this seems logical to our education department, but it does. Every other state has an August or September cut off. But not here. And I'm struggling.
You see, Baby Girl's birthday is in October. So, technically, she can go to school next year. And I know that academically, she's ready. It's the social stuff that I'm worried about. I didn't put her in preschool this last year. It was expensive and I'm cheap. So, we worked on things here at the house. Which is why I'm not worried about her academic skills. But she just seems too young for school. I know there will be other kids just as young as she is, but I want her to be really ready. Also, I don't know if California will be our home forever. It might, but I doubt it. If we move to another state she would be the youngest kid in her grade and I'm not sure how that would play out.
I don't want to send her off to school so that I can have some free time or because it's what all the other mom's I know are doing. On the other hand, it would be nice to have some free time to do what I want :)
I'm also wondering if it's just me. I've always been the mom to say, "HURRAH FOR SCHOOL! Let's have year round school! Send them out the door!!" I relish my time while the kids are at school. In the morning Little Bug and Baby Girl are hanging around. In the afternoon Little Bug goes to school and Baby Girl is here with me. She is a wonderful little shopper and she is always willing to dole out the compliments "Mom - you look like a princess in that dress!". I'm wondering if I'm feeling some sadness about my baby growing up and I just don't want her to go. I don't know if I'm ready to be totally alone for a big chunk of the day.
So, tell me. What would you do? Would you send her off to school and hope that the other kids and the teacher help her with social skills? Or would you wait a year for her to be a little more mature? Or would you take a deep look at yourself and see if you're being a tad selfish?
Sigh. This growing up stuff isn't as fun as it used to be...

19 comments:

Beth said...

I'd keep her home another year. Let her be a kid a little longer. As far as keeping her a baby a little longer, I feel the same way about Collin going to kindergarten this year, but he's been 5 since February and I don't have any good excuse. Good Luck.

Jodi said...

Keep her home another year, that way when you move back to Hermiston she'll be in the same grade as Jantzen. Yeah!! (hint hint. You ARE coming back aren't you? AREN'T YOU??)
But seriously, I think I'd be having the same thoughts as you if I were in the same situation. As much as I'd love for Jantzen to go to kindergarten this year, I don't think she's ready to deal with big second graders on the playground.

Pezlady said...

Speaking from my experience...my daughter turned 5 the week after school started and we sent her on her way and it was horrible. She didn't have the maturity to handle it. She had the academics, but not the rest. We let her struggle for 3 weeks and then pulled her out. She spent a year at home with me, because I was too cheap to pay for another year of preschool that I hadn't planned on and she didn't really need anyway. Then we started her again this year with her turning 6 a week after school started. Her being the oldest this year was the BEST thing for her. I worried that she would be bored silly, but she just took it in stride and the teacher gave her extra stuff to do to keep her from being more bored.

So, I would hold her back. I think being the oldest is better for the kids.

sariqd said...

Not to put too fine a point on it... but have you prayed about this? What does your husband think? Is the kindergarten a full-day or part-day program? Or even a part/week? (They have it here where the kids only go 3 days a week.)

I wish I had put my daughter in early because she's now the oldest in her class... and I think she would've benefited otherwise.

Summer said...

Ok, so I was born in California and started school there, kindergarten at age 4. I was always the youngest in every grade and I graduated at age 17. I thoroughly enjoyed being the youngest in my grade. Luckily I've always been an "old soul" and mature enough that I had no trouble fitting in. :D

You know your daughters temperament and I really can't tell you what to do. All I can say was that it worked fine for me.

Jamie J said...

I started with I was 4 but my birthday is the end of September. Rachel's is the cutoff in California--Dec 2nd. I'm pretty sure we are going to hold her back one year because like you we might not live in CA all her school life. It's a hard decision to make.

(I've also thought about putting her in Kindergarten twice and just using that as a free year of preschool LOL but I don't know if I want to do that to her :))

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I listen to Dr. Laura. I don't always agree with her but when she frequently mentions that 4 year olds are not equipped emotionally to spend all day at school I believe her.

We homeschool now because I couldn't bear to see my younger kids go through the crappy school experiences that my older kids endured.

Kimberly said...

Maybe talk to the kindergarten and grade one teachers and get some insight from them?

I've heard later is always better than too early though.

Yvonne said...

You're the mom--and you DO KNOW BEST!!! Do what you feel is the right thing to do. Does she want to go? Heidi started kindergarten at 4--she was ready, but she also started college at 17--not sure she was ready for that!!!

Baby girl must be a delight ; )

Dedee said...

I started when I was four and I loved it. I was too smart for my own good, and I was old for my age. However, if you are worried about her emotionally, I would talk to the teachers. Socially is a bigger issue than smarts. As for your little one growing up, it's a normal feeling to feel. I'd be more worried about your reaction if that was the only reason you listed.

Talk to the teacher.

Tausha said...

i would follow your gut on this one. If it was me, I would keep her home and put her in pre-school. 3 (almost 4) sounds a lot like her.If Ut had the CA school system she too would be ready for school and I wouldn't let her go. I really believe that the reason for pre-school is to teach them social skills not necessarily letters and numbers. I have become great friends with one of the K teachers at our school and she has said to me that the kids who go to pre-school are better prepared for school in the social aspect. The kids who don't are really behind in the making friends, sharing and the whole social thing. So, thats my two cents worth. I hope it helped in some way. Good Luck with the decision. Did you get your box? What was in it? Did you have fun with the swap?

diana said...

only you can really answer that question because you know your daughter best.

you've brought up some good points - like what if you move to a different state? you could put her in and if you feel, at the end of the year, that she's not ready to go on to first grade, keep her back for another year. being held back in kindergarten isn't that big of a deal.

i know you will miss her if you put her into school, but i bet you will find other times to do fun stuff and bond in a special way. good luck making up your mind.

Bonnie said...

I had to make the hard decision this year to hold both of my twins back a year. I wish I would have waited to send them to school. It has been a real struggle for them.

Tracey said...

Good luck. There is NO one right answer. Hope it comes to you easier than it seems to be...

The Morris Fam said...

glad it's you, not me. I don't even have 2 cents to add!

Christy said...

I know EXACTLY what you are going through... I started Kind in CA at age 4 (bday in Nov) and did just fine, but then I also started college at 17, which not everyone could handle. My oldest son's bday is also in Nov and I really struggled with sending him or not... he was ready socially, but academically not so much. I really wanted him out of the house for a couple hours each day, so I was being really selfish about it. In the end, a very wise friend made a comment that finally swayed me to keep him home and wait ... she said, "we held our son back with a fall birthday because we wanted him to be at the top of his game (academically) in high school to give him the best shot at good grades, scholarships, great colleges, etc...." it made so much sense to me after that... I wasn't looking at the big picture 12 years down the road... I was only looking at the short term. Now that he's finished 7th grade, I'm SOOO GRATEFUL we held him back. He's very mature socially, but still struggles academically and he's one of the oldest... if I had sent him at age 4, we might have had to repeat a grade and that would have been awful for all of us! I'm not saying you should put her in or hold her back... it's a very individual decision based on each child, but just make sure you consider the long term ramifications down the road... And if you need some "break" time during the week, you could always set up a rotating playdate with a friend that has a similar aged child... good luck!!!

Nancy Face said...

If it was me, I would wait until next year. My brother started at age 4 (November birthday) and always hated being the baby of the class. I was one of the older kids in my class, and loved it! :D

wynne said...

So what are you going to do?

I have nothing new to add: just do what is best for YOUR kiddo. I started when I was 4--I had a best friend even younger than myself who started too--we were both fine and loved it, but we loved being around older kids and really liked being the youngest in our class. But that doesn't mean that it would be good for her, right?

Good luck! and after you decide, DON'T QUESTION YOURSELF! You will make the best decision, go with it, don't look back!

Tonya said...

I would keep her home for another year. I don't think you are being selfish. I think you are being smart. Blake will be almost 6 when he starts school and I think he'll be much more prepared.