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Are we setting DS up for failure?? (kinda long)

Posted by on Apr. 5, 2014 at 11:20 PM
  • 28 Replies

DS will be 5 on November 22 this year, and DH and I are seriously considering looking into seeing if he qualifies for early kindergarten this fall. However, we're torn between a few things...

1) Are we subconsciously just trying to hurry up and boot him off the daycare bill? ($1100+)

2) Will he struggle later on down the line in school because we made him start school early?

3) Will he suffer emotionally from having that last year of year of being our "baby" taken away from him?

Our take on it, is that he CAN do it. He's perfectly capable of succeeding...he walked and talked early, is VERY observant and well spoken, and even tries to read things already. But he also has those middle child issues (we have 3 boys...2, 4 & 7). Older DS just turned 7 and has always had some speech and learning delays, meaing he's always required more of our attention. It was determined that he really didn't need to be in Special Needs classes afterall, but it was strongly recommended that he repeat kindergarten. He did (we moved the following summer, so he repeated, but in a completely different state), and the outcome was totally worth it. He'll be starting 1st grade MUCH more prepared than he would have last year. So DS One would just be starting 1st grade this Fall, while DS Two (the one this post is about) would be entering kindergarten right behind him--even though they are 4 & 7. So nautrally that is another concern of ours...Big brother being made fun of in middle school or something because little brother is only one grade behind him.

Then there's DS Two's resistance to growing up. When he sees us coddle baby brother and still give him sippy cups or tickle his toes, DS Two will often come up and demand to  be picked up too, or cries sometimes when I give him a "Big Boy" cup during meals. In the past, he has full on resisted certain aspects of growing up like getting himself dressed, and has even said outright that he "doesn't want to grow up!" through tears. We constantly remind him that he doesn't NEED to be a baby for us to love him! And that we love ALL of our boys the same. He's gotten better about all of that for sure, but he still has a moment here and there. On the plus side of things, I can't help feeling like starting DS early might be good for him AND big brother. Because big brother is a little behind developmentally, and little brother is pretty advanced for his age, they're very close and look out for each other. So we thought it might actually be a morale booster for them to have each other there for this stage in their lives. (First grade and DS Two's first time in 'Big Boy' school)

I know a case like this really depends on the child in question at the end of the day, but I was just hoping to hear how early kindergarten went for some of you? Or even someone you know? If I were only concerned about the here and now, we'd have already hopped on it. I guess I'm more concerned about issues that could arise later on (if any) from him starting kinder early.

***Please note: Before the bashing begins (since so many people like to focus in on ONE detail of a post sometimes and run with it), DH and I would NEVER even DREAM of putting any of our children in school early before they were fully ready, just to cut back on daycare costs. Hell, we'd still have to pay for Before & After Care like we do for our oldest DS anyway. Like I said in the beginning, that's just one of the reasons we're on the fence about the whole thing...

by on Apr. 5, 2014 at 11:20 PM
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by Platinum Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 12:07 AM

This is a very tough decision, and the honest truth, which is not much help, sorry *smiles* your DS #2 will be successful in either scenario because you guys care and will make it so. We did not start KGer early and will not with any of my 3.

Couple of my more detailed thoughts, are sports important to you and your DS? He will likely be small compared to team mates.

My mother was a teacher and majority of teachers would tell you to hold him back until age 5. I have never heard of a parent complaining they started KGer too late with their DS , but I have heard regrets about starting too young. 

also I was the youngest in my class and I hated it. It was never an issue academically or my performance. But it's a bigger deal when your peers start liking boys (or girls) and you still want someone to play dolls or cars with you. My personality struggled to standing up to more mature friends. It is also painful where I lived when everyone could drive except me! 

i totally get the daycare bill, it is brutal, I have an ugly one too!  No bashing from me! 

by Silver Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 8:25 AM

We had similar issue with our youngest. He missed the kindergarten cut off by 17 days. In our district you cannot start early even if you miss by a day. Happened to a kid in older DS class. We needed to do something with DS he had outgrown his current day care but the prek options were way too expensive. We ended up sending him to a catholic school for kindergarten. It was $3000 a year cheaper then our pre-k options. He just passed the kindergaten testing (he did zero preschool)

He is on the small size to begin with. Kid just out grow 4t clothes at the end of this year and only because he had 2 growth sputs this summer and fall. He was still in a 3t at the start of last summer. I worried he would be a little peanut but he is right in the middle for size. there are bigger kids but there are a few smaller ones.

Acedemically despite having no preschool he is doing great. We cannot afford to keep him in the school but if we did he would be going to 1st grade but since we are moving him to public school he will have to repeat kindergarten. They told us if there are openings in 1st grade we can test him to see if he can move up but its unlikely we can get him in 1st grade in the school we want. If we test him and he tests out of kindergarten he may have to go to a different school then older DS since ours is pretty much at the max for each grade. We don't even know if he will get selected for that school for kindergarten yet. I do worry because the school we are transfering him from is more acedemically advanced in kindergarten then the public that he will get bored next year. He already his site words and unless things have drastically changed in 5 years they don't even start those until second half of kindergarten. He is also starting to read too and I have a coworker who had a similar issue with his DD with an early october birthday. The day care they use has a private kindergarten which we looked into too and was a less intense then DS but she still started kindergarten again in public school way ahead of other kids and was bored at the work. They ended up having to switch schools to one with a gifted program.

Maturity he is borederline. He is a boy and boys do mature later at this age. I don't see a huge difference in him and other older boys in his class. Earlier in the year he had some adjustment issues. He was terrified of the principal. I don't blame him she scared me and made old school nuns look like saints. And he would cry and try to play sick to try to get out of going but he has a great teacher and we got him past that. I have an older DS who was a July birthday and he started at 5 (our cut off is august 31st since school here typically starts week before labor day) At 5 he was less mature then his younger brother but I think birth order does play a roll. Having an older bother, especially one that is 5 years older, he is growing up faster then my oldest did. Different kids mature at different rates. I think 5 is an arbitrary age. Just because one is not mature enough to start doesn't mean another who maybe younger is not mature enough. You know your kid best and a lot better then someone online who may chime in.

As for the closeness in grades. That happens here all the time. I had friends growing up with siblings in one grade ahead or below and was never an issue. I have few friends with kids very close in age who are a grade ahead of siblings and one may end up with 2 in kindergarten together because of she wants to repeat her oldest. They are close as it is 12 months apart and that used to be the norm around here when I was a kid.

As for sports. I know here our leagues all go by age not grade. My oldest is a july baby and his baseball age is actually younger then most of his school friends. Its only an issue when it comes time to move up. He had to do tball in first grade when most kids got to go on to farm. He was supposed to do an extra year in farm the year his classmates would be moving to majors but they had too many kids in farm so the changed the age that year. Now that he is in minors its less an issue because the only kids that HAVE to move up are the 12 year olds the rest of the kids move only when selected based on skill not age. The other issue that comes up is the summer league they group all the 10 years old on one team and all the 11 year olds on another and while he will turn 11 the week after it starts, they go by your baseball age which will be 10 because he doesn't turn 11 by end of season. He has a classmate who is a week older who has same issue and their friends dad coaches and they just want to play with their classmates but can't. It sucks for the league too because last year they were short 10 year olds but they had  that wanted to play but they considered them 9 year olds. Now my youngest will most likely move up next year but when oldest was in kindergarten he was the only one of his friends in tball, the others were in farm. The other sports we have done also run by age not grade.

My only advice after that lengthy reply is go with your gut but make up your mind whether you will be opposed to repeating if it doesn't work out. You know your child better then anyone else For me going in knowing I was going to repeat made me not sweat the small stuff so much. if he gets it this year great if not there is always next year. I guess switching schools makes it easier too but older DS had kids repeat kindergarten and while he knew going into 1st grade oh so and so had to stay back now that he is in 5th he can't even remember who was in his kindergten class.

by Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 10:22 AM
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My son was a mid-November baby.  He was reading in pre-K and he was on the big side of average for his age.  I wouldn't have considered him starting early for a minute.   And he started Kindy reading on a second grade level and addiding, subtracting, and multiplying.Aside from all the other things to consider, to me it would have been like stealing a year of his childhood.  They have their whole lives to graduate and go to work, what's the rush? My son is now in his first year of college.  I am so happy that I didn't listen to all the people that encouraged me to move him ahead.  Being one of the older kids has benefitted him in so many ways - especially regarding sports - it would have been bad for him to be a year younger, and emotionally.

by Silver Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 12:48 PM

It's a really tough decision. My daughter is mid-October and we opted to wait until she was nearly 6 for a variety of reasons, but mostly because preschool hadn't placed her in the class that really stresses what needs to be known for kindy and well, we didn't have time to get her up to that level. and I didn't want to pay for the testing only to find out she wasn't ready. She's a larger child too, we're both tall so it stands to reason she would be too! 

Two stories from other tho. a friend has a daughter with a DECEMBER birthday. decided she was absolutely 100% ready but she even missed the cutoff for testing in our district so she put her in a private school. her daughter was NOT ready, had issues with using the restroom, so the following year, she was in public school kindy and did great! 

DH's brother is a mid-June birthday. went in just like every other 5yo. ended up being held back in 1st grade and yeah, he wasn't pleased with that, but he's probably got some learning disability that MIL never bothered to get tested for, he had issues all thru school and college so sometimes some kids should be held back even if they ARE 5, it just all depends on the kid.

In my mind, I think it's something the professionals, aka the teachers, should decide. They can determine if my child is too far advanced for their grade and I haven't heard of skipping grades necessarily, but my old eye doc had them tell him he should go to a gifted school, public school wasn't going to do his son any service! We all think our kids are brilliant, and they are :) but it's hard to be able to compare them to other kids. My friend tested her son, 10 days older than my daughter, and he's been in Kindy this year and he'doing fine. Altho another friend held her twins with July birthdays back because they're SOOO small, and it will benefit them later in jr high and high school for sports. and lots of parents hold their BOYS back here only for sports reasons. but that's their choice. I live in a state where the minimum age for mandatory school is 7, yes, 2nd grade! So a parent not sending their child to kindy is not unheard of.

by Silver Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Oh and one last thing, my good friend has a son exactly a year older than my daughter, she didn't test him in, he's FARRRRR from the oldest in his class even being 6 weeks from the cutoff. So If you worry about that at all, I doubt it's uncommon epsecially with a late November birthday. but you know your child best, so don't let others make the decision for you (unless the cutoff is hard, no testing, then well, private school is an option I guess. I do have a friend who put her Sep10 daughter into private school, she's doing well!)

by Silver Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 12:58 PM

One last one, how could I forget! LOL MY sister is Sept 11, obviously there was no testing back in the early 70s. She was one of the oldest in her class and it was a HUUUUUUGE benefit to her. graduated 2nd in her class, got a full ride to college, oh and a big one that didn't even occur to me before someone mentioned it to me, SHE DROVE FIRST! She wasn't subjected to riding with all her friends for a year+. Where I live now, driving is not taught in school, it's a private affair, so not all kids drive at the same time, but where my sisters and I went to high school, it was taught in school so yeah everyone got their permits at 15, license at 16. I'm a March birthday, so I was middle of the road for all of it, I didn't get my license until June due to my driving class schedule.

by New Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 4:27 PM
Thank you all for your VERY helpful input. I talked to DH again about it earlier, and he was apparently all for it! I, however, am still very much on the fence. From what I gather so far from the responses, it really does seem to depend on the child. I'm not too worried about DH jumping the gun since in THIS household anyway, if >>I<< don't make the call, fill out the form, pay the bill, etc, it wont get done. So I'd still really like to hear some more opinions and experiences in this area since there are still 2 or 3 school district meetings left that we can attend for the 2014-2015 school year if we do decide to let him go ahead and start after all....TIA!
by Ashley on Apr. 7, 2014 at 12:33 PM
It's a tough choice. Ds1 is a December baby and we just had that decision last month. In our district you have to apply for early K admission by the end of February, it's $300 to apply and there is months of testing. They only take the top 2%. We asked his preschool teacher and she said he's ready and would see no reason for him not to get in. She also admitted she's up to a challenge next year to keep him challenged and engaged. In the end, we chose to wait. Here's why:
1. Size. Ours is 75% for his age. However, we are setting him up at a disadvantage his entire school time by increasing his chances to be thes smallest kid. That doesn't bode well for boys.
2. All the studies show the older kids struggle less. I want to set him up to succeed, not struggle at all.
3. Maturity and "can do". I want him to be the more mature one and the first of his friends to drive, etc.

So, instead of moving him to K, we started him (as of this morning) in a private pre K program that will expand on what he already knows. We are also looking into challenge schools in our area for K so they better fit his needs.

Good luck either way!
by Ashley on Apr. 7, 2014 at 12:47 PM
And an add on: to further engage ds1 before he started at his new school, we started doing Spanish at his daycare. The dcp and I split the cost. They have a native Spanish speaker from S America skype in twice a week for an hour and give Spanish lessons. DS1 is loving it and it's engaging him in ways beyond normal. And because we are splitting it, it only increased my daycare bill by $50 a month. You could look at options like that to keep him challenged
by New Member on Apr. 7, 2014 at 5:23 PM
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